“Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
This verse about parenting, like many of the Proverbs, is a general principle, not a guaranteed promise. Raising kids, like any relationship, can’t be reduced to a rigid recipe. It requires grace.
Training children to become thriving adults requires constant exposure to the truth of God’s Word (loving boundaries) and consistent experiences of His grace (unconditional acceptance). And for better or worse, kids learn more from what they see in our actions than what they hear from our mouths.
The Hebrew word for “train” (noun, hanukkah) means “to dedicate.” It carries the idea of “dedicate a child to God,” “prepare a child for future responsibilities,” or “equip a child for being an adult.” In the context of Proverbs, the verse encourages parents to direct a child in the way of wisdom to live in the fear of the LORD (trusting, worshiping, serving, obeying) and then trust the results to Him.
For our kids (and someday, future grandkids), I pray my words and actions will encourage them to follow me, as I follow Jesus Christ.