Young Men at Mount Mitchell, Georgia summit

TRAIN IN THE WAY

As parents of five children from ages 12 to 26, Donna and I have made a lot of mistakes during our 29 years of marriage. Raising kids is no simple task in this world today because there are many distractions. Often, our consistency in setting Biblical examples for them and following through with discipline have seemed to have fallen short of Solomon’s advice to parents that is clearly stated in Proverbs 22:6. To raise and train a child within the context of this proverb means parenting begins with the Bible. This was clearly proven to me this past weekend as I enjoyed a bachelor’s trip with our son, Tyler.

Tyler is 23 years old and has been a typical boy for most of his life. I can remember training him early on about the importance of saying his prayers and reading the bible. Often, I would pray with him and Donna spent countless hours teaching him through six years of homeschooling. Did we always have the same Zeal that Moses had as we taught him? Probably not always, but when we would grow weary, someway we always managed to get back to training him diligently in the “way he should go.”

DO NOT GIVE UP

I can now reflect on periods of time when our faith would skip a beat, and we would question the promise. It usually followed incidents of Tyler’s love for a “good” fight in high school. Little did we know he was fighting to be accepted in a small town school where everyone else had basically grown up together. I can also hit rewind and recall episodes of his “need for speed.” Tyler created several sleepless nights for us with the African Cobra. It was a super-charged Mustang that was his pride and joy. His best friends, John Michael and Ward helped him start the notorious LC Pony Club. Can I get an amen from a parent that can relate to any of this?

Soon after we thought he had been delivered from high speed syndrome, he bought a specific type of sportbike or motorcycle. It was distinguished by its aerodynamic, “hunched-over” seating position and high power. With his skills as a painter, he could change the color relatively quickly. I am not sure if that was from boredom with the color or simply to escape the law. I am sure His buddies, Kyle and Pico know the true reason for Fifty Shades of a Crotch Rocket.

HOLD TO THE PROMISE

We spent many nights stewing over choices he was making, and now, 23 years later, I see that our prayers availed much. The parental promise of Solomon’s proverb has proven to have held true for us.

Having a relationship with the Lord and following his truths begins with a child’s understanding of sin and his need for a savior. Tyler was taught and when he was old enough to grasp the gospel, he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and save him. We always tried to forgive him too when he made mistakes growing up. I am sure many times he felt as if we did not because of the discipline we enforced. This is an important part of the training. Discipline is an integral step in raising Godly children. The Bible clearly tells us in Proverbs 3:12 that the “Lord disciplines those he loves.” When we disciplined Tyler and our other kids over the years, we were training them to understand that discipline helps one receive wisdom (Proverbs 29:15).

To know that our 23-year-old son invited his dad and 12-year-old brother on his bachelors trip proves to me that the promise in Proverbs 22 holds true to what the Bible says. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Tyler has gained wisdom to withstand the onslaught of what culture says to do at a bachelor’s party. We did not get drunk around a fire in the mountains. We hiked the highest peak this side of the Mississippi River and grilled steaks with his closest circle of friends. We created memories that will be passed down to the generations to come in our family, all because we held onto a promise from the Bible about parenting.

PASS IT ON

As Tyler and Katie anticipate their special day that is quickly approaching in December, our prayer is that they will embrace this same biblical promise when God blesses them with children to raise. While it takes a village to raise a child, God’s word never returns void. As parents, we just have to hold on to the promise and not give up during the process.

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