Proverb twenty two verse six, talks about instructing a child in a particular path that is conducive to their maturity into citizenship. Our general understanding of this proverb is that the author wants us to raise or teach our children in the matter of religious life.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Pro 22:6
Proverb twenty two verse six, talks about instructing a child in a particular path that is conducive to their maturity into citizenship. Our general understanding of this proverb is that the author want us to raise or teach our children in the matter of religious life. This might involve bible study, prayer, church attendance etc. Which is a valid way of looking at this verse. But if we were to look closer at this passage from the author’s viewpoint I think our understanding of this text will be enhanced.
Train up a child in the way he should go. The verb translated 'train' (chanak) means, first, 'to put something into the mouth,' 'to give to be tasted,' as nurses give to infants food which they have masticated in order to prepare it for their nursling; thence it comes to signify 'to give elementary instruction,' 'to imbue,' 'to train.' The Hebrew literally is, Initiate a child in accordance with his way.
One aspect of the meaning we can derive from this text is about nurturing a child and setting their appetite. The example of a mother chewing food first and passing it on to the child is a great indication of this. Before we can nurture the little ones, we must first process what we intend to pass on.
I've seen many households fall short of this element. We have parents and leaders unwilling to process that which they try to put into our months. For example many protocol highlighted in the beatitude such as Matthew 5:23-24, “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” this basic command should be expected from any representative of the Messiah (the King) but we see it absent in our personal life and in our corporate lives.
If we observe society as a whole we see that elementary instruction (kingdom perceptive) is not only absent from secular thinking and reasoning, but also from our own households. Our elementary education in principal is so far from what scripture illustrates that we find ourselves groping in darkness. What is this elementary education will enable us and our legacy to grow and mature in a sure way?
The elementary education we should be initiating our child into should be in accordance with the standard of citizenship of the kingdom. Our children are to be taught in accordance with everything that points to citizenship. Our children should be initiate (disciplined) into understanding how to represent their parental authorities, the law and standard of the kingdom, and honouring governmental administrations, hierarchies and institutions which ultimately ensure they preserve their own citizenship.
We see this in Abraham who not only nurtured his house, but set their appetite and initiated his children and those born in his house, in the way of the Lord, in the paths of justice and judgement; which are the ways in which they should go, and which will be to their profit and advantage; see Gen 14:14; and which is the duty of parents and elders also to bring such who are under their care in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Eph 6:4.
Let us remember the general truth that all life can be trained. Dead substances cannot be trained. “Children are not only capable of training, but they will be trained in spite of us. And if we do not take them in hand, and with a very definite end in view, which we pursue with inflexible purpose and unflagging constancy—an end not lower than the kingdom we could see another process will assuredly be going on which will fill us with dismay. Let us remember that our children are always at school, even when they seem to be away from it.
What is meant by training up a child in the way he should go? It may be said to consist in four things— teaching, discipline, example, and prayer.
1. Teaching, or, if you will, the teaching of the truth which concerns it, in its relations to God and man. Store children’s minds with truth. Let them know all that it is right to do, both with respect to the God and man, reminding them that they are ambassadors of the king and as ambassadors representation is key.
2. Discipline, train them to obey authorities and governments, not only ensuring that they obey rules or a code of behaviour, but seeing themselves as governor and observers and judiciaries of the laws which is used for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
3. Example. “The power of one’s example is the power of character”. To tell a child what is to be done is a very valuable thing, but to show how it is done is far more valuable.
4. Prayer. We are not left to this work alone. The connection to the King is always open and we as His government are not only on this endeavour to give him godly seed. Prayer is not only available for us on this journey, but for our children and we must teach them to pray.