Proverbs 22:6 says …
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
That verse has always kind of bothered me. Through the years, I have known of numerous situations in which a child …
- was raised in a loving, godly family;
- grew up attending worship services and Bible classes regularly;
- had parents who were involved in that child’s life and who worked hard to lovingly guide that child into an understanding of right and wrong;
… and then when that child grew up and left home, he “quit the church” and began living a lifestyle in stark contrast to the way he was raised.
If those kinds of situations exist (and they do, in abundance), then how can this verse be true?
Consider the following.
If I train my children in the way they should go, they might choose to go a different way when they get out on their own, and they may even stay “gone” for a very long time. But the training I gave them as they were growing up will never leave them. It will always be in their hearts. They may run from it as fast and as far as they can. They may try to get away from it and may do everything in their power to not live by it. But if I trained them right when they were young, they cannot get away from that training, they cannot “depart from it”, no matter how hard they try. It will always be there in their hearts, reminding them, maybe even nagging them. And you never know when something might happen that will cause them to take pause and start listening again.
That’s why, as parents, we never give up hope.