TRAIN UP A CHILD MEANING – JORDAN VALAZCO
Train up a child meaning, start children off on the way they should go, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6) While this proverb is well known, train up a child meaning, does beg the question. In which way should he go is? Does it refer to life skills or education? To raise up a child, According to John Chrysostom, it means neither. Instead, a parent ought to be more focused on mentoring the child in the faith. While parents might be confused on why that is the most helpful thing to teach a child, Chrysostom supplies two very excellent reasons to support his claim, namely that the faith helps prevent unruly behavior and prepares the child for future struggles.
The first reason, to raise a child, that Chrysostom provides is probably the most obvious, it keeps the child from becoming disobedient and vile in both the short and the long term. This makes perfect sense; if the child were to become a Christian, then the Holy Spirit would be instructing and working on the inside of him, while the parent exposes him to the teaching of the church and the word of God. With proper instruction in the faith, this should result in an obedient child. After all, one of the Ten Commandments is “Honor your father and your mother, that you may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God is gives to you.” (Exod. 20:12) Thus, in the words of Chrysostom, “Then from the beginning bring him up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Don’t think that it isn’t necessary for a child to listen to the Scriptures; the first thing he will hear from them will be, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and immediately you will begin to reap your reward.” Thus, in the short term, you are likely to have a well-mannered child. However, you’ll want to train up a child in faith as a long-term effect too. It is only sensible to conclude that, by training them the ways of the Lord while they are young, one instills in them a Christian value system which will stay with them into their adult years. Is not showing a child the difference between right and wrong on of the primary duties of a parent. If this is so, then there is no better moral code to teach a child then the very system which the Creator of the universe personally gave to humanity. Surely, God would not have given this tool to parents today if it were not effective when properly taught. Moreover, if the child becomes a Christian, then the Holy Spirit will stay with him the rest of his life, telling him how he should act. It is no wonder then that Chrysostom cries out, “And then we wonder why we reap such bitter fruit when we have raised our children to be insolent, licentious, impious, and vulgar. May this never happen; instead, let us heed the blessed Paul’s admonition to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Thus, we can see that raising children in the faith prevent unruly behavior now and in the future.
The second reason Chrysostom advises rearing a child in the faith is that it prepares him for the horrible trials ahead. However, many people don’t see the wisdom in this. Surely, it would be better to simply give a child the skills needed in order to earn money so that these hardships could be bypassed altogether. However, this fails to account for the various types of trails that tend to pop up in life. Such tragedies as a loved one dying, natural disasters, and grave illnesses require true wisdom rather than mere skill. Therefore, one must teach a child wisdom. However, where is true wisdom found? As Proverbs 2:6 says, “The Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Clearly then, as Chrysostom says, “So, let us raise our children in such a way that they can face any trouble, and not be surprised when difficulties come; let us bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Thus, training in the faith helps a child face future hardships in life.
Therefore, it is evident that Chrysostom’s advise to instruct a child in the ways of the Lord is useful, since it prevents unsavory behavior and fortifies him against the trails of the world. Undoubtedly then, it would be wise to make good use of it, and “Train up a child in the way he should go.”