When we are blessed with children, we are also given a responsibility. You have probably heard the verse I am referring to many times: “Train up a child…” (Pr. 22:6) Each parent has to decide, “Will I train my kids or leave them to figure out life on their own?”
When we accept the responsibility of training our children, what exactly are we committing to? What does it mean to train? I wanted to study and apply this word in my own parenting, and here are some of my results.
First, I decided to get an actual definition for the word ‘train’ from Mirriam-Webster Dictionary. Each variance gave me new insight into what training actually means. So much is crammed into this little 5 letter word that if I stopped here, I would have my work cut out for me! Today, I will share the first 2 definitions and how they apply to raising kids, and tomorrow I’ll post the rest.
1)To direct the growth of (a plant) usually by bending, pruning, and tying
Obviously, our children are not plants. However, it created a picture in my mind of a horticulturist tying plants to a stake to strengthen the plant. Or possibly clipping off a diseased stem to keep the rest of the plant healthy. The “bending, pruning, and tying” is not intended to be harmful for the plant—these purposeful cuts are for the good of the plant.
Children need this kind of attention from their parents. When I see something developing in my child that might cause harm (now or in the future), it is my responsibility to carefully and gently train them in right direction.
2)To form by instruction, discipline, or drill
This definition at first made me think of a drill sergeant. I can see him standing in front of a group of soldiers, directing their every move with his commands. But if you look at the WHOLE definition, there are three things that go hand in hand to complete this definition of ‘training’. What I find really interesting and amazing is that we have already been told what to use for this process—the Scriptures! (2 Tim. 3:16) The Scriptures are profitable to instruct us, to correct us, and to train us. So as a parent, we can be confident that teaching our children the Scriptures will be profitable to them. This is why I believe it is important to bring every thought and action back to the Bible when instructing them, correcting them, and ‘drilling’ them. This is a BIG ONE, so I’ll talk more about this later on in this series.
Tomorrow, I will list the last two definitions that not only talk about the action of training, but the goal. Click here to view the 2nd post.
Photo #1 Jason and Elsie, taken by A Lot Like Love Photography
Photo #2 Wikipedia