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

Very many parental hearts have leaned their weight of hope on these cheering words - many to be sustained and gladdened, some to be disappointed. We look at -

I. THE BROAD SPHERE OF PARENTAL TRAINING. What is the way in which a child should be trained to go? It is one that comprehends much. It includes:

1. Manners. These are not of the first importance, but they have their value. And if politeness, demeanour, bearing, be not engraven in the young, it will not be perfectly attained afterwards.

2. Mind. The habit of observing, of thinking, of reasoning, of sound reading, of calm consideration and discussion.

3. Morals. The all-important habits of truthfulness, of temperance, of industry, of self-command, of courage, of pure and stainless honesty, of unselfish considerateness, of generous forgiveness.

4. Religion. The habit of reverence in the use of the Divine Name, of public worship, of private prayer, of readiness to learn all that in any way God is willing to teach us.

II. THE STRENGTH OF THE PARENTAL HOPE. Let the child be trained in these right ways, "and when he is old," etc.

1. The assurance of habit. When we have firmly planted a good habit in the mind and in the life, we have done a very great and a very good thing - we have gone far toward the goal we seek. For habit, early formed, is not easily broken. We sometimes allude to habit as if it were an enemy. But, in truth, it is our best friend. It is a gracious bond that binds us to wisdom and virtue. Without it we should have no security against temptation; with it we have every reason to hope that youth will pass into prime, and prime into old age, clothed with all the wisdom and adorned with all the grace that it received in its early years. What makes the assurance the more strong is that habit becomes more powerful with each effort and each action. Every day the good habits we have formed and are exercising become more deeply rooted in the soil of the soul.

2. The assurance of the common experience of mankind.

III. THE NECESSARY LIMIT. Not the very best training of the very wisest parents in the world can positively secure goodness and wisdom in their children. For when they have done everything in their power, there must remain that element of individuality which will choose its own course and form its own character. Our children may choose to reject the truth we teach them, and to slight the example we set them, and to despise the counsel we give them. In the will of every child there is a power which cannot be forced, which can only be won. Therefore:

1. Let all parents seek, beside training their children in good habits, to win their hearts to that Divine Wisdom in whose friendship and service alone will they be safe. Where sagacity may fail, affection will triumph. Command and persuasion are the two weapons which parental wisdom will do its best to wield.

2. Let all children understand that for their character and their destiny they must themselves be responsible. All the very worthiest and wisest influences of home will lead to no good result it' they oppose to them a rebellious spirit, if they do not receive them in the spirit of docility. There is but one gate of entrance into life, and that is the personal, individual acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Lord and Saviour of the spirit. The parent may lead his child up to it, but that child must pass through it of his own accord. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

WEB: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

On the Education of Youth
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