Train Up a Child
by Candace Cameron Bure
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” I definitely don’t consider myself to be “old,” but I can honestly say that I have not departed from what my parents taught me through both word and action when I was a child. I have added to what they taught me, through studying God’s Word and learning what it means to follow Him, but they created a good foundation.
My parents taught me to be a moral person, to treat others the way I want to be treated, and to know right from wrong, but they also taught me how to be a good parent and to guide a child in the right direction. My Christian faith has added to my understanding of parenting, but I often make family and parenting decisions partly based on what I experienced and observed from my own parents. This is a great reminder to me that I need to be the godly parent God wants me to be so that in time, my kids can also be godly parents.
Note that the proverb I quoted says “a child,” not “your child.” Whether you have children of your own, I’m sure you have other kids that look up to you. Perhaps you coach sports or teach kids at school, at church, or as a tutor. Even though you’re not their parent, they’re watching you and pick up on how you treat them, how you talk about and interact with others, how you spend your time, and so on. There’s a chance that you are a more positive role model for those kids than their own parents are. If that’s the case, I want to challenge you to take your relationship with those children seriously and recognize the influence you can have not just over the way they live their lives now, but also how they will conduct themselves as adults. You can help break negative patterns in their lives and help train them up in the way they should go.
Some of you might be out there thinking, It’s great that your parents were fantastic role models for you and your siblings, but my parents weren’t like that. I don’t want to parent like them. If that’s the case, you can make the decision to change that pattern and be a great role model. You don’t have to perpetuate the cycle. I can tell you that you’re already on the right path. The fact that you’re reading this article means that you desire to make changes in your legacy. You can be a better parent than your own parents were. (use bolded as pull quote)
Kids are watching, even when we think they’re 100 percent focused on their video game. They are listening, even when they roll their adolescent eyes at us. We have a huge amount of influence over how they will turn out. Sure, they will make their own choices, which will include mistakes, but the way we train them up plays a great part in the decisions they will make in life.
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