Remember that Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go.” In the original Hebrew, that phrase “he should go” has to do with the mouth. One commentary I read said it was a picture of how a Jewish mother would take olive oil or crushed dates on her finger and rub the palate of a newborn baby to create in the infant a desire to nurse. This is teaching us that a child raised properly is encouraged to develop an appetite and a desire for spiritual things.

A child trained in the way he should go is not only drinking in his mother’s milk, he is also drinking in his Heavenly Father’s love.

One of the most foolish philosophies you will ever hear taught is this: “I’m just going to wait and let my child choose for himself what he may want to believe about God and the Bible.” I want to tell you that this philosophy isn’t found in the Bible. Instead, the Bible teaches that we should be helping our children develop a desire and appetite for spiritual things from their earliest days.

 

Build Good Habits

A second truth we can glean from Proverbs 22:6 is that we must work diligently to teach and train our children to establish good habits in life.

The human soul is designed by God in such a way as to be able to set itself into patterns. Somebody defined character as “doing right until it becomes a habit.” Parents need to help their child develop proper patterns in key areas of life such as honesty, cleanliness, diligence, orderliness, attentiveness, obedience, Bible reading, prayer, respectfulness, and so on.

A child has to be taught almost everything and then checked up on until those good things become habits in his life.

By the way, good habits are enjoyable after they are developed. It’s not always easy or enjoyable to develop them, but they are enjoyable after they are developed—far more enjoyable than bad habits.

 

Determine the Path 

A third truth from Proverbs 22:6 is that you need to determine the path for your child—you don’t let the child determine the path for himself. Proverbs 29:15 says, “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

“Train up a child.” The word “train” means “dedicate, initiate, inaugurate.” The parent dedicates the child to God not only in prayer when they say, “God, I want to dedicate my child to you,” but also when they train the child by putting him or her on the right path.

Parents who simply try to restrain a child from doing wrong are not as likely to raise good, godly children as those who actively put their children on the right path. Godliness is primarily positive, not negative. Some people think there are many paths a child may take and be all right, but the Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go.”

 

Keep Them On the Path

One of the most vital truths concerning this verse is this: Do not let the child get off the right way for any reason.

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 the child off the right path. If you turn your back for a moment, your child will take himself or herself off the right path without you doing anything.

Proverbs 22:6 does not require perfect parents, but it does require parents who refuse to let their children get off the right path for any reason.

     •   It requires diligence. Sometimes it can be extremely hard work.

     •   It requires watchfulness. The parent must be like a guard who is always on duty.