When children and God come up in the same conversation, few Bible verses get quoted more frequently than Proverbs 22:6, which reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Interpretations for this nugget of godly wisdom vary. If one considers the verse alongside the command to parents in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to diligently teach the ways of God to children, and alongside the command to children in Exodus 20:12 (and repeated in Ephesians 6:1-3) to honor and obey parents, then Proverbs 22:6 becomes clearer. We can see that it fits into a larger context for the way God would have us approach child rearing: we are to intentionally, purposefully shape our children’s thoughts and actions toward God.
This concept isn’t so popular in our postmodern culture that celebrates relative truth and goes big for every individual figuring out his or her own way. It is not uncommon for Christian parents to even feel guilty about “pushing their beliefs” on their children. But look again at what God tells parents in the passages referenced above: Train up a child…Teach them diligently to your children. And what he tells children in the other passages referenced above: honor your father and mother…obey your parents in the Lord.
The charge to Christian parents is clear: do not leave your children to figure out for themselves who they are. God has created them to be worshippers, and it is no mistake that they were born into a Christian home. They are made to trust in the blood of Christ, be led by the Spirit, and worship the triune God. This way of training up children is not dependent upon your theology of baptism, whethercredo or paedo, it is simply a Christian way of training up children. Children in Christian homes should not be left to the mercy of the world to teach them what is true. There is hardly a greater liturgy in all of Christendom than the call and response of the Christian parent to the toddler:
Parent: What do you see?
Toddler: The moon.
Parent: Who made the moon?
Parent: That’s right. Who made you?
Parent: Yes, that’s right.
At Trinitas, we pick the liturgy up right there and continue. Our expectation is that you are training up your children in the way they should go at home. We stand in loco parentiswhen you drop your children off with us, and so we are sure going to train them up in the way they should go when they are at school. If you are doing something different at home—allowing your children to figure it out for themselves, for example—then we are in danger of working against each other to confuse your children at best, and train up good hypocrites at worst.
Train up your children in the way they should go. Don’t leave them wondering who they are so that the world easily slips in and sells them a deadly lie. Train them. It isn’t an option. If you want a school that will help you with that, we’ve got your back.
Headmaster Ron Gilley