“Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path.” Proverbs 22:6 (erv)
With experience, and as time goes by, I’ve come to look more agreeably on the application of the Easy Read Version. Following are some thoughts as to how I’ve gleaned such a conclusion.
As with our first, when our second child was born, we offered him a pacifier, which he willingly took. However, he also chose to add his two middle fingers of one hand. His persistence was such that I finally decided it was a losing battle, that he was going to end up with a misshapen mouth, and eventually we would deal with the fingers out of the mouth as we would have had to the pacifier.
This was one example of individuality shown by a child from the first moments in the crib. How do we parents teach and treat these gifts from the Lord that He expects us to help train and give back to Him? The early part of the verse does say to “Train up a child” so let’s not let that get lost in the effort to make so much of the “in the way He should go” part.
What do you understand “Train up a child” to mean? For years I have absolutely “loved” the word pictures presented in Deuteronomy. It seems to me these verses help us understand what it means to “train up a child”. I’ve used Easy Read Version here because it is more as we speak every day.
Deuteronomy 11:2-5 (erv): 2 Remember today all the great things the Lord your God has done to teach you. It was you, not your children, who saw those things happen and lived through them. You saw how great he is. You saw how strong he is, and you saw the powerful things he does. 3 You, not your children, saw the miracles he did in Egypt. You saw what he did to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and to his whole country. 4 You, not your children, saw what he did to the Egyptian army—to their horses and chariots. They were chasing you, but you saw him cover them with the water from the Red Sea. You saw how the Lord completely destroyed them. 5 It was you, not your children, who saw everything he did for you in the desert until you came to this place.
Here, we have a reminder that regardless of the personality type of each child, as parents we must remember we have experiences to share that will be new to each of our children, that we are to use those experiences to teach our children about God and His ways. Following are verses that remind us that we are to take advantage of every moment and style to teach our children, remembering that what is of strong interest to one child may hold little interest to another.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (erv):
5 You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
>>> How can we set the example if we don’t practice what we are told we must do ourselves?<<<
6 Always remember these commands that I give you today.
>>>Again, we must set the example; if we don’t remember, how can we teach?<<<
>>>FOLLOWING is the HOW TO MANUAL of the TRAIN UP A CHILD<<<
7 Be sure to teach them to your children.
>>>Here are some suggestions:<<<
“Talk about these commands when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road.”
>>>We had a Bible scene that was of particular interest to one of our children. There is so much available through technology for visual aids, although on occasion, just a quiet time of thinking and using vivid imagination is a really great idea.<<<
>>>One of our children and I used to quote one particular Bible verse as we looked out over the vast morning field while we waited for the school bus to come.<<<
>>>One of my favorite songs has become, “This Is My Father’s World” and sometimes I picture Maltbie Babcock as he walked about picking the words he chose so very well to honor our Father, while never knowing his words became a hymn.<<<
“Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up.”
>>>Make use of every possible way you can think of to talk, talk, talk of God’s commands, teaching of His desire for always the best for us, therefore the reason for His firmness in demanding obedience. There’s the story about the 4-y-o who knew his mother was not well and they needed bread. He told her he could ride his tricycle to the store down on the corner, that he would be careful when he had to cross the street, that he would use the walk light. Like we ask God if we can do something, he had every good intention, but like God, his mom said “No.” As adults, we can see the reasoning. As adults, we must take time to explain to children, as best we are able, that God’s thinking is different than ours is sometimes.<<<
“ 8 Tie them on your hands and wear them on your foreheads to help you remember my teachings.”
>>>Make bracelets, headbands, with Bible verses written on them. Even if they are not worn, the act of creating them will help imprint the verses on their minds.<<<
“9 Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.”
>>>Verses on Sticky Notes placed on over the house works! J<<<
These are just a few suggestions I’ve made with the verses. I am sure you’ll have plenty of your own ideas to match your own family’s individuality.
(Deuteronomy 6:5-9 are basically repeated in Deuteronomy 11:18-25.)
Again, it’s important that we see our children as individuals; however, in seeing that, we must still be alert to applying the instruction of God as primary.
Our task is to figure out how to apply the instruction first in our own life, then our example sets the tone. However, there are occasions when neither the example or word is seen or heard because there is a built-in closed door of the mind or the child simply chooses to not see. One example in our home was the arrival home from Kindergarten with the very exciting news that, “Teacher said that vegetables are good for us! Carrots help our eyes see better!” (“Oh, really? I’ve only been telling you that for how many years now, and today is the first time you heard it?”)
And even though we studied God’s Word together in our home, ended up with a collection of notes written by the children for the Bible lessons they presented, etc., I’m sad to have come to the realization that somewhere, somehow, the same thing is true in that the teaching of the scripture was missed in much the same way as that of the vegetables. How? Why? And I thought I was doing such a good job, too! :-(
I read a quote about failure. It says: “Failure is an event, not an identity.” Having chosen as my identity to be a wife and mother through a prayer at age 8 or 9, and having become a Christian at 17, married at 18, become a mother at 19, 21, and 24, and not having fulfilled the greatest goal for which I strove , I cannot agree that failure is not an identity. That, in part, is why I am writing this, to warn others, to say, I am more convinced than ever, that as parents, we must be alert to “the way he/she should go”, each individual child. I missed some things along the way; however, I read something a couple of days ago that gave me the most hope I’ve had in weeks. The person who wrote the little article spoke of the great failure of Peter recorded Matthew 26:33-35 (nasb) 33 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too.
>>>I’m sure Peter believed it when he said it, but . . . <<< 59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
>>>But then, following Jesus’ resurrection, before He ascended to Heaven <<< John 21:15-17 (nasb) 15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep."
Such a lesson- this that Jesus did for Peter! It is pure hope that He is doing likewise for me; not only that He is forgiving me for missing the places in the lives of my children that I missed in their growing-up years, but also that He is using me and the lessons I learned along the way to feed His sheep by helping others to train up their children in the way THEY should go! May it be so ~
© M Sue Libby Moore