Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
A familiar verse I’ve heard, read, and said many times over the years, and I’ve heard folks argue about its meaning.
But when I read this verse yesterday, it was as though I’d read it for the first time.
I began reading, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” and then immediately my eyes went back to the first word: train.
I don’t know about you, but sadly, I’m lacking here. Taking care of my children? I got that! I read the Bible with them, prepare their meals, buy clothes, give them hugs, tell them I love them, even home school them! I taught them how to read!
So how did I miss this?
Feeling the tug to the very first word in this verse stung.
Have you ever trained for something? It’s hard work! It can even be difficult! It requires pushing through the difficulty and struggles, remaining focused on the goal.
Train: Teach (a person or animal) a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.
There’s a difference between training children and taking care of them. While they both take work, training them is going to take more effort and more time on my part. More time? Yes!
I sometimes wonder if we, as a culture, have become so dependent or involved in activities and various groups that it’s simply accepted that someone else does the training. All we have to do is get them there.
When I only had preschoolers, it was an understood among many friends in my mom’s group that we were ministering to our children during this season of life. But when they were old enough for Kindergarten, they could go to school full-time, and we could even get our lives back. And if a mother decided not to follow this route, she was a radical! Or possibly a weirdo! Definitely a freak of nature!
A couple of years ago, a young mama asked, “Do you ever get ‘me time’ or time for your ‘own life’?” I was happy when my first thought was, “But this is my time! This is my own life!” After following the crowd for so long, I felt I’d found contentment!
Over the years, we’ve gradually made changes for training our children and relying less on others to do it. But I’m still learning, as accepting this responsibility as a mother is being laid on my heart.
Since I’m continuing to learn, please share ways you’re “training up” your children. I’d love to read them!
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