Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22-6 NIV
I usually think of this verse as an encouragement for parents dealing with rebellious children. Sometimes as a parent, I have wanted to just throw up my hands in frustration and let the children raise themselves. But over time, I did start to see that our efforts as parents did have a positive effect. I see in some families, parents who are very hospitable, and later I see this same quality expressing itself in their children. I see financially responsible parents raising children, who in turn, are financially responsible. I see honest, hardworking parents with their honest, hardworking offspring. Parents, extended family and friends, and Church family have a huge influence on children as they mature.
What I’ve also seen is the less cheery side of this verse. I have seen parents with a sense of entitlement pass that on to their children. I’ve seen proud, argumentative parents turn their children into confrontational adults. Christians, who have tried to go it alone, are an encouragement to their children to be disrespectful of the greater church. I am forever grateful to the extended family and friends who helped to fill in the gaps of my imperfect parenting , and were examples of godly living in a way that I was lacking.
This should be a scary verse for any parent because while it promises that a good upbringing will last a lifetime, it also carries the underlying warning that a bad upbringing will also last a lifetime. We all need to pray for God's wisdom in this responsibility.