"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." ~ Proverbs 22:6
The Biblical admonition to "raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" is not, of course, a direct command to teach my grandson how to operate a tractor & front-end loader. Nor is it a promise that he won't forget, either. In fact, Solomon wasn't making any sort of promise, but simply expressing a principle. Dr. John MacArthur explains it this way: "How many times have you seen a parent cling to that verse in desperation as they watch defiant children forsake all they were taught? Some children sit under loving, prayerful instruction from their parents, only to later shame them with a scandalous lifestyle. It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? But Solomon’s proverb is not meant to be a gilt-edged guarantee your child will eventually trust Christ and live righteously. Solomon is simply saying early training usually secures lifelong habits. It’s a charge to give great care and consistency to how and what you teach your children. God promises to bless us for parental faithfulness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean our children will be saved. They have their own relationship with God to work out. (emphasis mine)" [Source, "Parental Mythbusting]
Certainly, our primary responsibilities as parents and grandparents is to teach our young ones to love their Creator, to help them understand their need for a Savior, and to train them to be obedient servants and courageous witnesses for their Master. When we do such, we pray that the principle spoken of by Solomon will hold true for our little ones - that the lessons will take hold, that the Spirit of God will use the implanted Seed of His Word to draw them to the cross, and that they will live their lives as active, attractive Believers - even into old age. But the principle has value even beyond those primary, most-important considerations.
We should also be teaching our children the value of hard work, the truths associated with sowing & reaping, how a single grain produces abundance, and other such agricultural principles - all found in scripture, and all having application in life, as well as the garden.
"In all toil there is profit,but mere talk tends only to poverty." ~Prov 14:23 (ESV)
JUST before he heaved it up... ;-)
"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
~ Prov 14:4 (ESV)
"Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it."
~ Prov 13:11 (ESV)
"As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same."
~ Job 4:8 (ESV)
"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."
~ Galatians 6:7 (ESV
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6 (ESV)
"For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." ~ Galatians 6:8 (ESV)
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." ~ John 12:24 (ESV)
It's never too early to begin imparting truth to children. When they are young, they soak it up like water into a dry sponge. Their ability to grasp hold of concepts is astonishing: our grandson, who is not yet two years old, has been learning sign language for months. Patti has taught him how to say "please," "more," "food," "I love you," and "on." The last one is his favorite anytime he gets near Paw Paw's tractor, as he frantically slaps the back of his left hand with his right palm as if to say "ON, ON, ON, ON!!" It's entirely too cute. And there's nothing sweeter than for him to sign "I love you" without being prompted to do so...except for when he offers a kiss on the lips, just because he thinks about it. My heart melts.
And I am amazed at what he picks up just by observation. You should see him when he sits on my tractor: he works the steering wheel, then his little hands go from knob to knob, grabbing and wiggling every lever within his reach. He doesn't understand what they do, but he already knows they do SOMETHING. Well, he knows for sure what one of them does:
Click here--> watch him in this video clip. ;-)
Yeah, it's too early to really teach him the meaning of the scriptures quoted above, but it's not too early to begin preparing the soil of his heart. How can I do that? By involving him. By loving him with my time.
Parents, take note: when your children are little, they want to be like you. They want to do what you do, so bring them in. Sure, part of the reason my grandson loves PawPaw's tractor is because he is a little boy and there's just something about little boys and big ol' machines. But I also believe that he loves PawPaw's tractor because it's PawPaw's, and he loves PawPaw.
We spent a couple of hours yesterday, just walking around...climbing on and off the tractor...sitting by the woodpile...sitting on logs...watching the dogs play. As "work" is measured, I didn't get much done. But my prayer is that the soil of his little heart was turned yet again, making it more and more receptive to the Good Seed headed it's way.
This post shared at Homestead Abundance Blog Hop