While many regard this proverb as a precious promise, others consider it a severe warning - but all would be wise to recognize the godly principle on which this word of wisdom is founded.
Children are a gift from God and to dedicate time and patience in the child-training process is the right, responsibility and joy of all parents. All children are born with a propensity towards evil and training infants and young people in godly conduct, wise choices and appropriate accountability for their actions and attitude.. it a God-given, tool - to help set a child in the right direction for their life.
But (for the Christian parent) appropriate training: vocationally, morally, intellectually, musically, educationally, spiritually or simply encouraging the development of deportment or the promotion of individual gifts and talents.. should always be founded on the Word of God, bathed in daily prayer - as day by day they seek to set an example of right living and of godly conduct.
Although this is a general principle and wise proverb, we know that there are some that seek to train up their child in the way they should go - but sadly they depart from the way - they become rebellious and stray from the path of righteousness. But Scripture always encourages such parents to hope in the Lord, to pray for their repentance - and to look for the day when the prodigal returns to the fold - with a penitent heart and a cry for forgiveness - for it is not God's will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
But there also many who do not have the benefit of a godly father or a prayerful mother, who have not been brought up in the way they should go. There are those who knowingly or unwittingly have encouraged their children to develop, worldly ways, sinful habits and ungodly patterns of behavior - but does this verse exclude those children from God's promise of forgiveness? Never, for God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Children, grandchildren, boys and girls are all a gift from God. May we who have been given the privilege, responsibility and joy of children - whether our own or those of others - seek to train them up in the way they should go. May we share with them the good news of Jesus Christ and day by day point them in the direction of godly conduct, wise choices and appropriate accountability - praying always that when they are old they will not depart from the way of righteousness.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege, responsibility and joy of the children You have placed in my life. I humbly ask that You would guide me in the way that I should teach them and train them and pray that they may grow up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. May they grow in godly conduct, make wise choices and learn to be both responsible towards others and accountable to authority. Keep them from worldly ways, direct and govern their lives and may they never depart from the way of righteousness, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.