Don Fortner

Do you want what is best for your children? Of course you do. You love them. You seek their happiness. You plan and prepare for their future. But, if you really want that which is beat for your children you must raise your children in accordance with those principles laid down in the Word of God. The wise man wrote, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). The simple lesson of that text is just this - Good training, as a general rule, has good effects. The text does not promise salvation as the result of good training. But it does promise that, in the general course of things, a well-trained child grows into a responsible adult.

If you would train your children well, YOU MUST TRAIN THEM IN THE WAY THEY SHOULD GO. NOT IN THE WAY THEY WOULD GO. Our sons and daughters are born with a decided bias toward evil. If we let them choose their way, they are sure to choose wrong (Prov. 22:15; 29:15). If we would be wise, we must not leave a child to the guidance of his own will. TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN WITH LOVE, PATIENCE AND TENDERNESS. I do not mean that you should spoil your children. But, I do mean that you should let them know that you love them. Love is the secret to proper training. Nothing will compensate for the absence of love and tenderness. Anger and harshness will frighten a child; but they will not persuade the child that you are right. If your children see you often out of temper, they will soon cease to respect you. TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN TO BE INDUSTRIOUS AND RESPONSIBLE IN LIFE. Life is not all fun and games. Children need to be taught responsibility the earlier the better. TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN WITH LOVING, BUT FIRM, DISCIPLINE. Determine to make your child obey you. It may cost you much trouble and cost him many tears, but it will be best for the child. A loving parent will see to it that his children are obedient (Prov. 13:24; 19:18; 25:15; 23:13-14; 29:15-17; Heb. 12:5-11). Be firm and earnest in disciplining your children. Do not punish them rashly, or in anger. Do not use abusive words with them. Such things only create hostility. Use the paddle. Use it sparingly; but use it firmly. A loving, but firm use of the rod is essential to the proper training of children. AGAIN, TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN WITH A PRIMARY CONCERN FOR THEIR SOULS. If you love your children, think of their souls. In every step you take regarding them, in every plan you make for them, and in every decision you make which concerns them, ask yourself one question How will this affect my child's soul? ONCE MORE, TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN WITH THE FIRM PERSUASION THAT MUCH DEPENDS ON YOU. You cannot convert your children. You cannot save them. You cannot train them up to be Christians. And you cannot change their hearts. But you are the one who molds your child's character. And you do it, for better or for worses in his earliest years.

When you have done the best you can, you cannot save your sons and daughters. "SALVATION IS OF THE LORD." We must teach them well, train them well, and call upon the Lord in their behalf, seeking the mercy of God for them. We must commit our children into the hands of God. Having done that, we will rest in submissive faith, trusting the Lord our God to accomplish his own purpose and grace in Christ Jesus, for the glory of his own great name.

I offer these thoughts to you who are believing parents, with the prayer that they may be of help to you, as you endeavor for the glory of Christ to train up your children in the way they should go.