Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Over the years as Principal I have found the concepts it contains both challenging and encouraging. Firstly, it reminds us that parents need to be active in raising their children. The busyness of life often causes us to be reactive to situations rather than taking time to build a value base in their lives so that they are able to make wise life choices. Life is busy but our children should be a high priority, otherwise the years pass and the time cannot be retrieved. The word ‘train‘ implies strongly that the role of a parent is a critical one and if we get it wrong we miss a God-given opportunity to positively speak into the lives of our children
Secondly, the latter part of this verse should be an encouragement to all parents, as it reassures us that in the end they will benefit from the training, love and instruction that we give. Parenting can often be discouraging as we don‘t have the benefit of the long term view. We can only do what we know to be right and invest time and the wisdom into our children we have learnt on life‘s journey. It takes quality time to build the relationship and trust needed to raise children but to give this time often means sacrifice on behalf of the parent.
There is no doubt a stable loving family is as important today as it was in the past. Whilst society has changed, the old fashioned role of the parent has not. Children look to their Mum and Dad as the centre of their universe and crave acceptance and love. It is a timely reminder for all parents to do everything in our power to make the family home a safe and supportive environment for our children, of whatever age. Too frequently however, parents succumb to the pressures of life and children are the ones who inevitably suffer.
Parenting requires wisdom and sacrifice but too often parents become preoccupied with themselves or their own agenda and children become the collateral damage. Many children never recover from the neglect they experienced during their formative years. God never intended it to be that way.
I want to encourage you to continue the commitment you make to your children. We at Charlton count it a privilege to contribute to the raising / education of your children and will do whatever we can to assist you.
My wife Jacqui and I have children now in their 20s and one could think that as young adults they are no longer our responsibility. In many ways they are not, however we are continually reminded that the important role of a parent doesn’t stop – it simply changes as they get older. I praise God continually for the privilege and see every challenge we face with our children as an opportunity for growth. I am confident that time sacrificed ‘into the lives of your children will produce a reward far greater than any other competing activity or possession.
Principal Charlton Christian College