Starting Young

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

So much of who we become is formed in our childhood.  What we learn as children we often carry all the way into adulthood, and experiences that we have then can affect us for the rest of our lives.  As children, things may become ingrained in us that are difficult to change later.  If those things are negative, we may face an uphill climb or struggles as we mature into adulthood.  But if those things are positive, God-focused, Bible-based things, then we’ll have a good foundation to start with that will help us as we grow up and face difficult things along the way.

It’s never too early to teach children the truth of God and the ways of God and the love of God.  It’s never too early to expose them to their Creator and the world He has made and the things He has done.  From a young age, children should be instilled with an understanding of right and wrong.  They should be taught about God’s standards of righteousness and what He expects and how to follow Him.  They should learn lessons early on about living a life that glorifies God and why we strive for that in our lives.

We can’t just put in minimal effort and hope things turn out okay.  Training is a concentrated effort in order to achieve a certain outcome.  It’s going to take time and patience and work and effort, maybe some tears and frustration, maybe some wise counsel, and definitely a lot of prayer.  It is a process of repeating lessons and making sure there is understanding behind what we are doing and not just blind imitation.  There must be real knowledge gained that can be applied later, not just memorizing facts that could be forgotten.

Despite all a parent’s efforts, their children still will come to a point where they must make their own choices, and they may make the wrong ones.  But if they’ve been trained up properly, that foundation will be ingrained in them somewhere.  Those truths are deep within them somewhere.  That love has left a mark somewhere.  And it just might be that all that effort in teaching them the right things early on will be what eventually leads them back to God.  Life is hard enough.  Growing up is hard enough.  Becoming an adult and growing as an adult is hard enough.  So may we teach and guide and train our children in the right ways so that they have the best chance to succeed at pursuing a godly life for themselves that will last their lifetime and beyond to their own children.

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