Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Thought for the day on the verse of the day: Proverbs 22:6

Derek Kidner has an interesting comment on today’s Bible Gateway verse of the day. The NIV renders it,
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
The principle demand, read thus, would be to teach the child what is morally and socially right: the way he should go.
Kidner, however, writes,
The training prescribed is lit. ‘according to his (the child’s) way’, implying, it seems, respect for his individuality and vocation, though not for his self will (see verse 5, or 14:12). (IVP OT Commentary, 147)
Literally, the verse reads something like, “Train a child in the mouth of his way ...” — an idiom that clearly needs some interpretation before we can reach an application!
What is important to realize from this slight ambiguity is that there is more to raising children than simply given them instructions and making sure they follow them. The book of Proverbs is very much concerned with what the young should learn in order to be wise — especially from their parents.
Wisdom lies, first and foremost, in the knowledge of God. Proverbially (1:7), “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge ...” (NIV). But true wisdom is not found simply in learning and applying rules. The child is expected to following instructions: “Clean your teeth, tidy your room.” The adult should have some understanding of the principles entailed in these instructions, and our whole process of child-rearing should be a preparation for the independence of adulthood.
The archetypal ‘mature child’ in this sense is surely Christ himself, who, on the one hand did only what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19), according to the Father’s will (John 6:38), but to whom the Father had committed his own authority (John 5:22).
This is surely the model we should follow in parenting, and in responding to being parented. The ultimate goal is the entirely trustworthy child to whom all things can be entrusted.
John Richardson
1 September 2010
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