Last time, we looked at Proverbs 10:4, which reads, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” Applying the principle found in this verse to parenting, we learned that successful parents must be diligent in training their children. Parenting with a “diligent hand” produces the wonderful riches of upright, charactered children, while parenting with a “slack hand” produces the reverse.

In Part 1, we looked at how diligent parents must:

     •  Start early. The work of diligent parenting doesn’t start after a child reaches a certain age. Instead, it needs to start as soon as a child is born. In fact, in some respects, it actually needs to begin before a child is born.

     •  Build good habits. The human soul is designed by God to be able to set itself into patterns of regular conduct, so diligent parents must work to train their children in good, positive habits. Somebody has defined character as “doing right until it becomes a habit.”

     •  Determine the path. When Proverbs 22:6 exhorts us to “Train up a child in the way he should go,” we need to determine to put our children on the right path. Parents who simply try to restrain their children from doing wrong are not as likely to raise good, Godly children as those who actively put their children on the right path. Why? Because Godliness is primarily positive, not negative. Some people think there are many paths a child could take and be all right, but the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go.”

     •  Keep them on the right path. The right way is a narrow way, and parents must always be alert and watchful. Satan is continually using pressure and deceit from all kinds of sources to get your children off the right path. If you turn your back for a moment, your child will take him or herself off the right path without you doing anything. As parents, it is our responsibility to keep our children on the right path until such time as they’re strong and mature enough to keep themselves on the path. (Incidentally, many parents wrongly assume that their children are mature enough to stay on the right path well before they’re actually prepared to do so. Discernment is needed here.)

Today, I’d like to look at the question, “How and why do Christian parents let their children get off the right path? And how can diligent parents help keep their children on the right path?”

As we look around today, we see many Christian parents losing their children. Why does this happen? It does not usually happen because parents give their children permission to do wrong when they ask to do something the parent obviously does not want them to do. Instead, it is usually because the child does something wrong and the parent finds out about it, but just lets it go. The child gets off the right path, and when the parents do not speak up, the very fact that they let the wrong go is permission in itself. The child is then left to himself. Remember that “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15).

Rebels in good families do not become rebels all at once. The parents let one area slip a little, and then another area slips and then another, and before you know it, you have a full-blown rebel on your hands who has totally left the happy, joyful path of serving the Lord.

The diligent parent cannot let disrespectfulness, bad friendships, laziness, stubbornness, or disobedience slip by. They can’t let it happen. Parents must not let their children off the right way for any reason.