The way they should go
Want a real challenge? Here goes. Raise your children to become what they were designed to be, not the way you think they should be. Look carefully at the verse. Train them in the way ‘they should go’. So many parents, especially dads, begin reliving their lives through their children. They start directing them in order to fulfill the parent’s dreams. “I played football, and by golly, so will my boys!” Mom always dreamed of being a ballerina, and she starts pushing her daughter in that direction. Living out her dream, regardless of the child’s talents or own desires.
A wise father once told a group of our abiding fathers that we need to really listen to our children so we may pray specifically about their lives. Start identifying their gifts. And to leave them to choose what brings pleasure to them. Then support it however possible. There are only a few short years while they are living under your roof, the time when you have the most influence on who they will become.
Speaking of which, isn’t that the purpose of good parenting? The verse clearly points to the time when they are out of the nest, living their separate lives. Here is the test, the possibly scary part—they become the person that you trained them to become. “When they are old, they will not depart from it”. But let’s end on a positive note. Even though your children may stray from your great and loving training for a season, this verse should give you hope. They will return to that which shaped them in your home. I have always been told, ‘it’s not how you start, is how you end’. Train up your child with an ‘end’ in sight. You won’t be disappointed.