“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Growing up in the 90s I remember the mantra “it takes a village to raise a child.” As with so many popular beliefs, there is a grain of misapplied and misunderstood truth to the saying. The Bible tells us in Proverbs, as well as many other places, that we must train our children in the ways of God. This one in particular reminds us that what a child learns will carry with him into adulthood.
The story of the Bible, both the New and Old Testaments is one of community. The Jewish people from times of old would send their children to synagogues to learn the laws in community with one another. The people of the Jewish faith were expected to exhibit righteousness not only from fear of God, but also to teach their children by example. In the New Testament, Paul leaves instruction for the elder people in the church to instruct the younger in the ways of God. In other words, the teaching of children is important, and it will be a corporate activity to some extent.
Now, we could look at the corporate aspect of that as a command of God, but perhaps we should look at a deeper truth. Human beings learn by experience. The old adage that actions speak louder than words is quite true for most human beings. Children, by their nature will absorb the lessons taught by the behavior of those around them. In other words, it isn’t really that it takes a village to raise a child. It is instead the nature of man that the village will raise the child. So where does that leave us?
We live in a world where cursing, violence and sex have become entertainment. It is a world where the biology of sex is taught without the spiritual significance. Murderers become famous, being the best liar is often prerequisite for positions of power, parents are to be ridiculed, and thievery is justifiable as long as it can be attributed to some “greater good.” It is a world where politics trumps reason, emotion trumps logic, and God is portrayed as a quaint old-fashioned idea at best. Is this the village that you want to raise your child? Are these the lessons you want them to follow when they are old?
Perhaps it’s time we as Christians decided to change our village. Let us look at the activities we participate in, the entertainment we enjoy, and the people we associate with and examine whether they glorify God. If not, let us seek what is righteous, truthful and lovely, if not for God’s sake, then for the sake of our children. Be blessed and be a blessing.
Daddy, we so often get confused and sidetracked by the messages of the world. So many times they seem harmless on the surface. So frequently something sounds like a good idea at the time, until we reap the consequences down the line. Let the Spirit lead us to change our ways, to train our children in Your righteousness, so that they will grow into the men and women You have made them to be when they are old. In Jesus Name, Amen.