(e.g. john 8 32)

Proverbs 22:6  (King James Version)

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<< Proverbs 22:5   Proverbs 22:7 >>

Proverbs 22:6

In Muriel Beadle's book on the importance of early childhood development, A Child's Mind, she expresses her own version of this proverb: "Parents, train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will be unable to depart from it."

Beadle is a child psychologist. She has an awful lot of clinical experience in dealing with children and their parents. It is her considered opinion that, when people get older, they really never change.

Most adults understand how difficult it is to change, how difficult it is to overcome something. Beadle thinks nobody ever really changes. From her experience she is probably close to being a hundred percent accurate. There is a great parental responsibility to instill the right things in a child, because that child will carry them right through into his adulthood. Thus, God can confidently say that when you train up a child in the way that he should go, when he gets older he will live the way you trained him. If you trained your children right, they will continue, and their lives will be a success—a far greater success that it ever would have been if you had not given them the right instruction in the first place.

Beadle's comment underscores the importance of the immediate with regard to children's conduct. There are things that cannot wait, and training up a child in the way that he should go is one of them. Your time with you children is running out. It is slipping away, and God is still holding you responsible.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sanctification and the Teens

Proverbs 22:6

Homeschooling has become the most viable alternative to public education over the past several years. Concerned parents, watching standards—scholastic, moral, and cultural—tumble in their local schools, are turning to traditional curricula taught in the home by a parent to give their children a better education and environment. Whereas homeschooling used to be equated with liberal, hippie, granola-munching types, the movement is now predominantly conservative and Christian.

Adding values education to a hemorrhaging public school system is a last-ditch tourniquet, a triage procedure to save a wounded and dying institution. It may staunch the flow, but it will not keep the patient from expiring. Why? The answer is simple: A person, group, or institution cannot teach what it does not possess. At best, the public schools should be reinforcing values that have already been taught.

Character education must be taught in the home. If a child riding the bus on his first day of school does not already possess the basic values of right and wrong, he is already set up for failure. A five- or six-year-old child should already know and practice such fundamental values as respect for authority, courtesy, honesty, respect for property, respect for life, responsibility, etc. They are not difficult for a child to understand, especially if they are reinforced by their parents' examples. The Bible is full of exhortations and examples to parents to guide their children (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9; I Kings 1:1-6; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:1-4; etc.)

The parents should be supported in their responsibilities by the churches. However, this is happening too infrequently in this country. American mainstream churches are so busy doing "outreach," "political action," and other time- and resource-wasting activities that they are neglecting to teach Bible-based character from their pulpits. In attempting to include groups the Bible wholeheartedly rejects unless repentant, they have watered down Christian virtue into one word: tolerance. I challenge pastors and preachers across America to find that word in the Bible. God is never happy when religious leaders shirk their duties (see Malachi 2:1-9; Jeremiah 2:8-13; 5:30-31; II Peter 2; etc.).

As with all matters of morality and character, change must begin with the individual, and from there it spreads to the family and beyond. It cannot begin in a liberal public school system that will not recognize God, truth, biblical standards, or even this nation's founding virtues. As the song says, "Let it begin with me."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Public Schools and Teaching Character

Proverbs 22:6

No parent trains his children perfectly because everyone is a product of the confused and derailed system the Bible calls "this evil world." Parents tend to repeat and pass on whatever this corrupt system imposes on them. Psychologists and sociologists verify that people who were abused as children often repeat that behavior when they become adults. A recent statistic, mentioned in the television program Scared Silent, says that abused children are six times as likely to abuse their own children when they become parents than non-abused children. The abused become abusers. The system gets a hold on them, and they pass the system on.

Muriel Beadle paraphrased this scripture in her book, A Child's Mind. "Today the proverb could be amended to read '. . . and when he is old, he will be unable to depart from it'" (p. xx). Her point is that an adult's hope of change is a slim one. It is extremely difficult for one to change what is ingrained in him when he is young. The cliché of a man being "set in his ways" is true.

Succinctly, the principle is that the right training produces the right results. Thus, athletic teams, ballet and stage productions, and armies train—drill, drill, drill, over and over—until all of the participants, if possible, can do their parts automatically. The skills become such an integral part of them that they perform well routinely.

Proper training will endure throughout life. This principle also applies to what God is doing in a Christian's life. People are material and mortal. But God puts His children through a training program to prepare them for eternal life. He trains them in a way that will endure for all eternity. In dealing with eternal consequences, we understand why God considers doctrine—teaching, instruction—so important.

A satirical interpretation of this verse reads, "Train a child according to his evil inclinations [let him do his own will], and he will continue in his evil way throughout his life." So either way, the principle is a true one. Training determines what a person will become. And doctrine will determine what His people will become.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Guard the Truth!

Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Proverbs 22:6:

Genesis 18:16-19
Exodus 2:9-10
Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Proverbs 23:6-8
Ephesians 6:4


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