Proverbs 22:6 says children are highly, highly impressionable little creatures. It says parents indelibly make an imprint on their children – negative and positive, sometimes good and sometimes bad. That Proverb says to make sure that you imprint a strong faith in God. “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Let me illustrate. Let’s say your really believe in keeping a clean home. That’s good. If you are really fanatical about cleanliness, that will be imprinted on your children. If you put shopping and buying goodies for yourself, that will be imprinted on your children. If being really close to the extended family is important, it will be important to your children. Before you miss my point, you pass on to your children what you are passionate about.
This principle applies to spiritual training. If you are passionate about God and your love for Him is brought into the daily conversation in your home, and if you lead your children with love instead of some coercive, manipulative means, your children will not reject you or God. Children who see God modeled in their parents will quite naturally come to rely on that Truth for their foundation even when they are old.
Friends, I’m going to tell you something. Do not fall into the comfy position that says, “because children have free will, they are going to go how they want to go and you can’t control that.” If you have children and THAT is your view, then THAT view will shape your children. But if you have the view that each little soul God has placed in my care is MY sole responsibility and I will fight to get them to heaven. When they are little and acting out, say, “I will be stronger than you, you little rascal. Pick up those toys before you get others out.” When little junior tells a lie about getting in the cookie jar, say, “This is not a small matter, mama and daddy are going to stop this before you become a big, grownup liar.” And when the peers are beginning to exert their negative influence on your children, say, “This is war and I’m your parent and I WILL NOT let the world have its way with you. So if you don’t have the strength to lead with your peers, I will cut them off – you decide.” If you want your children to grow up and become adults DO NOT permit them to enter the “perpetual teen track” that has become part of our modern society.
Pro 22:6 says that children are highly impressionable. It’s why Moses wrote that Israel was to talk to the children about God in the morning, midday, and at night. God is not just Sunday talk. God is present in our daily life. Are we making this kind of indelible impression on our children?
God said it is your responsibility, parents, to raise them up in the way they should go. That means you get right with God, and then live it and model it for your children, and expect them to go the right way.