I have spent the better part of my life raising kids, first my own, and then assisting thousands of parents in raising theirs over the last 30 years in various Christian schools. My husband, Pastor Rob, and I have three beautiful sons of our own: Robbie (31), Mikie (30), and Thomas (28). Five years ago we acquired a wonderful daughter-in-law, Alessandra Myers, who has since blessed us with two gorgeous grand babies – Rebecca, age 2, and Benjamin who is almost six months old. My greatest pride and joy in this life is my family. I have always known that when all is said and done at the end of one’s life, those who will be by your bedside in your old age will be your family. Perhaps this is why I have deliberately invested the better part of my life in my family, and perhaps because the Bible tells us to be intentional in how we raise up our children as well. Proverbs 6:22 states:
“Train (raise) up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
This is not only the motto of our school, but also the motto for my family. This short proverb by King Solomon (known as the wisest man on earth) shares with us God’s heart in how to raise our kids. Within this nugget of wisdom, there are four major truths that tell us the “how” and “why” we are to raise our children according to God’s principles.
1) “Train” – this word comes from the word “discipline” or “disciple”. In other words, parents are to be very intentional in what and how they disciple their children. Parents are not to set out to punish their children into doing what they expect, but to train them in love. “Fathers, do not exasperate (provoke) your children unto anger, but rather raise them up in the love and admonition of our Lord.” (Eph. 6:4) Parents are to raise their children in love according to “the way they should go.”
2) “A Child” – This word translated literally means “infant.” Parents are expected to begin training their children from infancy. Today, we know that from birth – seven years of life are truly the formative years. The initial spiritual impression and emotional attachment that takes place in the life of a child during these years stays with the child for the duration of his/her lifetime. God reminds of this truth when Moses speaks to the people of Israel in Deut. 6: 5-7:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Teach them to your children when you sit at home, when you walk along the way, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Dr. Estelle Myers