Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6 ESV
“If only they came with an owner’s manual!”
How many times has this thought crossed our minds over the course of our parenting years?
As Christian parents, we long to train our children up in the way of the Lord. But the world gives us temptations and often leads us astray. It muddles what we know of God unless we thoroughly know His Word and how to filter everything through it.
But we aren’t all there yet. And that’s okay. God has us each on our own journey with Him. If I knew the Bible when I first became a mother, as well as I know it now, life wouldn’t have been nearly as overwhelming.
7 Easy Strategies That Will Help You Train Up a Child God’s Way
We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. –Psalm 78:4 NLT
“If your friend told you to jump off the bridge, would you do it?”
I am going to make a bold guess and claim that almost everyone reading this right now has heard this line, or one similar to it, at some point in their life. By a parent, a teacher, or some other caregiver. Am I right?
Now I am going to take it one step further. How many of you have actually repeated that same line to your own children? I am guessing that number is pretty high, as well!
The truth is that although we are a society taught not to follow every “brilliant” idea that comes along, we still do it!
It seems that whatever becomes the latest, greatest, or most popular, we latch onto! Don’t get me wrong. I love the latest and greatest of a lot of things … like home decor, style, and anything that makes my life less complicated!
However, that doesn’t mean the latest and greatest are always the best options for us.
Let me go a little deeper with this. Into parenting. The single most important responsibility of our lifetime.
Breastfeeding, Formula, Ferber Method, Dr. Sears, No-Tears, Co-sleeping, Crib sleeping, disposable diapers, cloth diapers, pre-school, home school, public school, private school, sports, no sports, family dinner, spanking, no spanking.
Before our children make it through their first week, we have been offered endless theories which at one time or another have been the latest and greatest in parenting.
As parents, the burden of it all weighs heavily on our shoulders. Even when we finally make a decision, we allow doubts to run freely through our minds. We fear making the wrong decision.
And I’m right there with you, friend! I’ve run this cycle of overwhelming parenting round and round, too.
However, I am convicted God did not design parenthood to be this way.
He designs each of us uniquely and wonderfully. And He creates us specifically for the child or children He gives us to parent while here on Earth. (I wrote more about this here)
So, wouldn’t it just make sense to raise or train up a child God’s way? If He is the One who created us, created them, and created the unique child/parenting combination, why would we want to raise them differently? It’s like trying to place a square peg in a round hole!
God’s Way to Train Up a Child
As a follower of Jesus, our mission is to listen for Him. We seek out His guidance. Ultimately, we parent specifically to the child He gives us to parent.
My 3 children are all uniquely different. Different strategies work with each child. One is more sensitive and another more stubborn. One organized and one not.
And as many of you know from spending time here with me, our youngest is from Bulgaria. She has significant medical, emotional, and developmental special needs. How I have learned to most successfully parent her is almost completely different from my other two. It’s different strategies for different kids.
However, there is a common thread and consistency to the way God asks us to train up a child. He left us a guide that is and will be consistent with all our children — the Bible and our relationship with Jesus.
When we follow hard after Jesus, know the Word of God, and communicate with Him through prayer and worship, we learn to parent His way — a simpler way. A way we can trust.
I want to leave you with a list of 7 Easy Strategies That Will Help You Train Up a Child God’s Way. These strategies are not dependent upon the current bandwagon or hottest trend. They are dependent upon God’s Word. A Word that never gets outdated or outsmarted.
1. Build your faith into your everyday moments.
Take advantage of life and make them teachable moments that point to the power of Jesus. Use the time for open conversation.
Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. –Deuteronomy 6:7 NLT
2. Bring every matter back to the condition of your child’s heart.
Disobedience? Unkind words? Poor choices? They are all matters of the heart. It’s not simply about consequences. Get to the matter of the heart.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23 NLT
3. Model a life of relationship with Christ.
You cannot teach what you yourself do not model. Your life must be a living testimony.
And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. –Titus 2:7 NLT
4. Pray with your children.
When our children learn to pray with us, we can be assured they will not forget to pray on their own. They say a family who prays together, stays together.
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. –Luke 18:1 NLT
5. Study His Word with your children.
We cannot train a child up well without discovering the beauty of God’s Word together. Little children aren’t going to have long attention spans. There are many wonderful children’s studies, story books, and activities we can do with our children that will help them (and us) fall more in love with God’s Word.
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth. -3 John 1:4 NLT
6. Worship Him with all your heart.
Give your children the opportunity to witness and participate in this. Some of my most treasured moments were watching my littles sing and worship. Their hearts, so pure, radiated love and joy.
All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah –Psalm 66:4 ESV
7. Listen to Him.
When we study, pray, and worship, we must listen. A time of reflection, or meditation, clears our minds of all the chaos in the world and focuses us on Him and His Word. When our children see this in us, they will learn to do the same.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. -John 10:27 ESV
Together we stay off the man-made bandwagons and stay on the God-made-never-expiring-one-and-only truth.
A Prayer for the Overwhelmed Mom
Dear Father, Parenting is tough. So tough. But Lord, You created me with detailed intricacy. You know my individual burdens, needs, and weaknesses. And You equipped me to specifically parent the children You gave me. Help me tap into the tools You have provided so that I may train up my child in the ways of You. Open my eyes to hear and see You in even the ordinary and dreary moments.
Lord, I ask You to fill me with Your strength, wisdom, compassion, and love. Let me see my children through Your eyes so that I may confidently recognize worldly tips and theories that may not work for them. Father, I desperately want to be the parent You ask me to be. Thank You for filling my gaps when I falter and giving me light in the dark. In Your precious and holy name, I pray. Amen.