(Prov 2:1, 17 [KJV]) My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee. . Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
Most children are taught how to conduct themselves in an acceptable way in the given society. These are values a child would carry for life and for those whose training was effective behaving contrary to the upbringing would not hard. In time, these values would come natural to them such that they would feel out of place where such are not observed. This would be a clear sign that the training up a child is of great value for life it is not something that would last for a short time. Inculcating these values from childhood would shape the way in which a person would conduct themselves for life. It is a lifetime investment.
The text here uses the phrase ‘forsaketh the guide of her youth’ which is deliberate and willful act of disobedience to that which one knows very well. Once learned these values the only way we can go against them is when we deliberately chose to forsake the teachings. And really any parent or guardian who has faithfully deliberated on child training would not do so in vain. Forgetfulness would come as result of inadequate or insufficient training or prolonged life style of ignoring the values learned. The reason we have many derailed youths and adults today in our society is because of poor or nil childhood training necessary for their character building. Children grow up without these values that essential to their balanced life, without mentor-ship or parental nurture these often becomes a menace in a society wherever they may be.
Spiritual childhood nurture and training is key in child’s character development and would determine their value system and mental balance in their entire life. We should not be lost in the cuteness of our dear children at the expense of their character building that would come with a great cost of embarrassment even to the parents and guardians and difficult adjustment to life for the child in his youth and adulthood or especially when away from home.
“Begin the Teaching Early. –Obedience to parental authority should be inculcated in babyhood and cultivated in youth. Some parents think that they can let their little ones have their own way in their babyhood, and then when they get older, they will reason with them; but this is a mistake. Begin in the baby life to teach obedience. . . . Require obedience in your home school. From their earliest life children should be taught to obey their parents, to respect their word, and to reverence their authority.” -Child Guidance p.82
This way we will have a generation of well behaved and balance Christian youths. In them we will be sure of ambassadors for Christ in the world where they will make a difference. A generation we can be proud of and God can count on.
By A. Eliamani