Proverbs 22:6 Train a child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not part from it.
Whew! That verse puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us if we read it to mean that if we raise our kids right, they will become followers of Christ. Putting the full responsibility of our children’s faith on our own shoulders will surely lead to feelings of failure when one of them strays.
I love the following explanation of Proverbs 22:6 from Captivating by John and Stasi Elderidge.
This verse is not a promise about faith. It is not speaking of training a child to follow Christ or promising that if you do, the grown child will continue to follow him. Sorry. The proverb is about raising a child to know who he is and to guide him in becoming ever more himself. In the way he should go. Not in the way you would like him to go in order to validate you as a mother and a woman. It speaks of teaching a child to live from his heart, attuned to it, awake to it, aware of it, and when that child is grown he will continue to live a life from the heart. It is about seeing who a person really is and calling him out to be that person.
Though it is important for us to direct our sons toward Christ, it is ultimately their own choice to follow or turn away.
But if while we raise them in the faith, we also focus on their gifts, talents and passions, we can guide them toward the life God intended them to have on this earth. We can help our kids become aware of who God made them to be. We can find those little seeds of talent and be our kids’ biggest cheerleaders and advocates.
And maybe it will be in the development of their God-given gifts that they will see the Savior most clearly.
Lord, Help me to be aware of the gifts, talents and passions you have built into my boys. Give me the wisdom to best encourage them in the way they should go. Amen.