Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Train Up a Child

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

We had a good friend when we lived in Boston who used to say that this scripture says absolutely nothing about what the child will do before he gets old - so she had hope for the one of her eight who was rebelling. I believe the proverb wholeheartedly - as a generalization.

We can mention Heavenly Father, Lehi, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Brigham Young, Ezra Taft Benson, Hugh Nibley and lots of other visible leaders as examples of righteous parents who had children rebel - but we also can mention every single one of them as examples of righteous parents whose children generally did not rebel. We can say they prove the proverb incorrect, but we also can say they prove the proverb correct. In my opinion, seven of eight (for my friend) or two out of three (for Heavenly Father) proves the proverb as a general rule.

In the end, it really is up to individual agency, so nobody whose child or children struggle should assume automatically that it was their fault, but proper training as a child can make a huge difference.


Tony said...

Thanks for the post. I've often pondered upon this scripture. I think you've nailed it.

Anonymous said...

We recently had missionaries over to dinner who told us that if we brought up our children in the way that they should go,our children would be obedient.They,of course,did not know our family history,and meant no offence,but it took steady nerves to teach them otherwise,and emphasises that many leave out the qualifying clause of this scripture,as I had often when I chastised myself for all types of inadequacies when reflecting on my gospel education of my children.We do what we can,and our beautiful children must make their own choices.I wouldn't want it any other way,but have moments when I would wish to change my children's bitter experience of sin and it's consequences in their lives.