Part of my Hope and what I Strive for as a Parent
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
Written April 2, 2012
This wonderful verse is seen countless places and is quoted by parents and teachers alike when it comes to raising Godly children. When it comes to what I strive for and work at as a dad I find my guidance in this verse too. When I was in seminary I had a professor enlighten me on the background of the word translated “train up.” Without getting into an “in depth” look of the Hebrew that was used here, the word used for train up can also mean to initiate. In speaking of a child I was taught it pertained to the process that Hebrew mothers used in weaning their children off of milk and onto solid food. It was said that these mothers would take vegetables and place them into their own mouths and chew them, making them into a soft paste, and then place them in the mouths of their children. This caused the children to learn how to take food in but also trained their taste buds to want these foods. A similar occurrence happens in our lives as we develop a taste for the foods served to us. When I think about what I would like to eat at my grandmother’s or my mom’s house it is not the most expensive thing you can buy at the grocery store, it’s the things I grew up eating. (Two words butter beans)
In adding this understanding to Proverbs 22:6 the role of parents becomes evident. We are called to be ones developing a taste for the things of God in our children, so that when they grow older they will not depart from it. My hope as a dad is that I can put a taste in Grace’s mouth for the things of God. That she will have a hunger and thirst for God all her life whether I am tucking her in at night after reading the Chronicles of Narnia, handing her the keys to the car for the first time, or congratulating her when she graduates first in her class at college (a father is allowed to dream and hope). I want her to want, enjoy, and yearn for the things of God.
In order to do that though, I must understand that developing a taste for something does not come through force or bribery, but rather it comes through love, time. personal example, and consistently sharing these things with her. If I want her to have her joy found in God, then I must find joy in God. If I want her to value the Word of God, I must value the Word of God and rejoice in sharing that with her. If I want her to be excited about going to church, then I must show that joy and excitement too. It is by those little things, by placing them lovingly on the the taste buds of her life, that a taste will develop, and once that taste is developed it is there for life.
As parents, let us all strive to place a taste for godliness, goodness, and righteousness within the lives of our children. Let us help them as they sample the things of God, and show them how wonderful our Savior is so that they might have that longing in their hearts for the things of God all their lives!