The Motherhood Season of Training: Putting ‘Train Up a Child’ Into Context

As Busy Christian Moms, we’re all very familiar with the season of training that we face when it comes to raising our children. We know that the Bible says:

Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 (HCSB)

How do we actually do that though? Let’s start by putting this stand-alone verse back into context.

How can we train up our child in God? | Christian Motherhood | Raising Kids | Raising Children | Christian Lifestyle | Parenting | Godly Children | Devotional

Putting Train Up a Child Into Context

Read It

1 My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands; 2 for they will bring you

many days, a full life, and well-being. 3 Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will find favor and high regard in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

7 Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your possessions

and with the first produce of your entire harvest; 10 then your barns will be completely filled,

and your vats will overflow with new wine.

11 Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; 12 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.

Proverbs 3:1-11

The first few chapters of Proverbs are all about exploring the different “ways” that man can live his life. And, even while there are popular memory verses in these sections, it’s important to remember that these passages are all supposed to be laying the foundation for the rest of the book. Proverbs is interested in answering the question, “How does a wise person live his life?”

What’s most interesting about connecting Proverbs 22:6 back to the beginning of the book is the context of Proverbs 3. Go look at the very first verse again. This passage is all about teaching a child about “the way he should go”.

You might also be aware that the different translations of the Bible use different words for verse 3. I spent some time trying to research the original language that is translated as “loyalty” in the HCSB. Some people regard it as a covenant loyalty while others treat it doing favors for somebody else. Still confused? Let’s try an example.

Your Mom Friend has been having a very stressful week. She needs to get to the store for groceries, but doesn’t think that any of her kids will survive the trip with her. She asks if you would be willing to watch her children for part of the evening. Because you have that covenant that we call friendship, you agree to this favor. Got it now?

So what can we learn from it?

Learn It

A lot of posts that focus on raising our children to love God focus on the practical tips like:

  • Teaching your child to read God’s word
  • Teaching your child how to pray
  • Teaching your child how to live out God’s word

These posts have a purpose that I would never dare knock (in fact, I’ve hosted this post on Chaotic Life that fits into the category), but sometimes we can lose sight of the forest by focusing on the trees. If nothing else, I want you to take this point away from this post:

You’re not a bad Christian Mom if you don’t enforce a devotional time or if your child doesn’t pray like you’ve modeled for them.

There is so much happening in a child’s mind as he or she grows up that we cannot look at this like a magic sequence of events that will lead a child to have our faith. And while it’s important to learn the Bible, it’s more important that your child learns a genuine and sincere faith. That doesn’t come from what a child actually does so much as the attitude in which they live their lives.

How can we train up our child in God? | Christian Motherhood | Raising Kids | Raising Children | Christian Lifestyle | Parenting | Godly Children | Devotional

An Overview of a Life on “The Right Path”

Loyalty and Faithfulness

Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:3 (HCSB)

The right path starts with loyalty and faithfulness. Loyalty could be learning how to go above and beyond to help friends (or even enemies.) This kind of loyalty is rooted in the sacrificial love that should be the defining characteristic of a Christian life.

Faithfulness could apply towards keeping our word or by faithfully doing any task given to us. Remember that part of being faithful is honoring the title that you give somebody. So if you call somebody a friend, you need to be faithful in how you treat that friend.

These traits are so important that we’re told to tie them around our necks, kind of like Frodo did with the Ring of Power so that the ring would not get lost in Lord of the Rings.

When it comes to fostering these traits in children, teaching them to be aware of other’s feelings and of how their actions affect others will go a long way.

Trust

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5 (HCSB)

Trust, even when it doesn’t make sense. Early in my senior year of high-school, I put together a portfolio of short stories for a scholarship competition. While I didn’t expect to win the entire competition on the National level, I was confident that I would at least pass the regional round to be in the competition.

It didn’t happen. I didn’t even get an honorable mention for my stories. I was devastated. My faith in being called a “good writer” by so many was shaken, and I couldn’t make sense of the call that God had placed on my life to write. While I don’t know what difference that competition would have made in my life either way, it was a time that I had to trust in God – that was a purpose for my writing – with all my heart.

A child who trusts God understands that, even in the bad times, God still loves them. This is a child who learns to take steps in faith – even if he’s afraid or doubts – because trust in God trumps all other things. Guess what, Busy Mom? This characteristic is directly learned by watching you.

Consideration of God’s Commands Before Acting

Think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

Proverbs 3:6 (HCSB)

A person on the right path doesn’t simply react to what is going on around him, nor does he blindly make a decision based on what seems best. Instead, this person learns to consider God in all of his decisions. “Does this decision support a Christian worldview? Is this God’s will for me? How do I need to act, as a follower of Christ, in this situation?”

How can we train up our child in God? | Christian Motherhood | Raising Kids | Raising Children | Christian Lifestyle | Parenting | Godly Children | Devotional

They’re old-fashioned and cheesy, but the “What Would Jesus Do” bracelets did serve a purpose. Another way to foster this trait in your children would be to help them explore the Bible with questions like, “What does the Bible say about anger?” or, “How does God want us to respond when somebody bullies us?”

Learning to make actions based on what the Bible says is an act of faith. We trust that, no matter what, God will take us exactly where we need to be in life. And as a Christian, that can lead us through some very scary paths indeed.

Resisting Sin

Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

Proverbs 3:7 (HCSB)

There’s a lot of other verses in Proverbs that add to this verse. For example, in Proverbs 26:12 we’re told that there is more hope for a fool than for somebody who considers himself wise. Somebody who views themselves as wise will walk headfirst into the pitfalls of pride and self-centeredness, which (as we talked about in this post) blinds us to what God actually doing around us. People who trust in their own power to walk on the right path will, eventually, forget what the right path even looks like.

People who consider God’s word as their guide will cautiously look for sin in their own lives. They will strive against it because they know that God has asked for all of their life.

So how do we foster this trait in our children?

I’ll admit, I’m not at a point in my motherhood stage where I have to worry about this. However, I think the best hope at training a child to have this trait would be to let your child choose this for herself. After all, both sin and the desire to resist sin all originate in the heart. In the meantime, model a humble life that seeks to live in accordance with God’s commands.

Humble Displays of Faith

9 Honor the Lord with your possessions

and with the first produce of your entire harvest; 10 then your barns will be completely filled,

and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (HCSB)

I debated what to call this section for quite some time. While the verses are talking about tithing, I feel like it goes beyond that. After all, the Creator of the universe doesn’t need our money (although it does help ministries meet needs). And while I know it was originally a way to support the Levitical priesthood, it seems that tithing go beyond that.

As a mother now, I understand how scary it can be to give money from the “first produce.” After all, we depend on that money to survive. And when unexpected expenses keep popping up, it can become even harder. Tithing at the start of a season instead of with whatever you have left at the end is entirely a faith thing. When we give money, we trust that God will provide for us if we do have a need.

When I think about tithing in this way, I’m also reminded of the Nazirite vow. It’s another instance where a willing sacrifice is looked on favorably by God. If you want to see creative and humble displays of faith, look no further than a child who wants to follow God.

Accepts Correction

11 Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; 12 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.

Proverbs 3:11-12 (HCSB)

This is the final sign of a person on the Right Path. It’s a very easy point to understand, but it’s so much harder to live out in our own lives (and even harder to teach our children!). I think the key is in verse 12 where it talks about love.

We accept – or at least forgive – somebody’s discipline or criticism when we know that it originates in a desire for us to be our best. Learning to accept God’s correction starts by understanding that it is all done out of love.

Apply It

  • Ask: “Am I personally demonstrating these signs of a life on the Right Path?”
  • Do: Look for teaching opportunities with your children for these signs throughout this week.
  • Pray: “Dear God, help me to live a life on the Right Path. Help me to train my children to follow after you. Amen.”

Please share with your friends!

More about Lauren C. Moye

Lauren has had a lifelong passion for both writing and for helping people. Once upon a time, she would have laughed if somebody suggested she write nonfiction to achieve those goals. A couple of years ago, she would have scoffed if somebody suggested she write for her peer groups. Today she's writing to "HELP BUSY CHRISTIAN MOMS MANAGE LIFE."

12 thoughts on “The Motherhood Season of Training: Putting ‘Train Up a Child’ Into Context

  1. Jennifer DeFrates

    This passage is a command, but also a promise. As a Christian mom doing my best to raise my child for Christ I hold to that promise very tightly. Tonight I put my daughter to bed as six years old, and she’ll wake up as seven. I pray and hope that I am training her to go God’s way.

    Reply

    1. Lauren C. Moye

      Jen, thank you so much for the comment. I absolutely agree that there is a promise in this passage. I also have no doubt that you are training her to go God’s way.

      Reply

  2. Hannah Diane

    Love this so much! Thanks for sharing….pinning to read again later! <3

    Reply

    1. Lauren C. Moye

      Hannah, thank you for your comment! I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

      Reply

  3. Lauren

    Love how you said “loyalty could be learning how to go above and beyond to help friends (or even enemies.)” I think the big one here is enemies! When we display unconditional love to those who are against us, that speaks volumes. Especially in today’s world, for our children to grow up seeing us treat our best friend and our enemy the same, that’s huge.

    Reply

    1. Lauren C. Moye

      Lauren, I most definitely agree! I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that many of us raised in church /know/ we should treat our enemies and best friend the same way, but we still seek out those passive-aggressive ways to get revenge. When we hear our enemy is in some kind of trouble, we tend to think, “Serves them right,” instead of, “What can I do to help?” It’s definitely a hard skill to learn, but I hope that one day people will be able to say that I treated everybody with respect and kindness.

      Reply

  4. Lovely Little Lives

    Great post! I love the area on trust and how a child learns trust in God by watching how we trust God.

    Reply

    1. Lauren C. Moye

      Thank you for the comment!

      Reply

  5. aparsley

    This is a helpful reminder of context and why it is important. I love Proverbs!

    Reply

    1. Lauren C. Moye

      Thank you for the comment! I appreciate hearing feedback from my readers.

      Reply

  6. Lovely Little Lives

    I think being a model for our children is one of the best ways we can train them up as you talked about in such depth in this post.

    Reply

    1. Lauren C. Moye

      Yes! Most definitely. Right now it’s hard because my little minion wants to steal books from me, but I try to make a habit of reading and praying in front of her even now.

      Reply

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