The Children in the Home – The Child’s Role

Title: The Children in the Home - The Child's Role

Bible Book: Proverbs 22 : 6

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Children; Parenting; Family; Home


The Children in the Home - The Child's Role

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

We come now to the seventh in a series of eight sermons on the home. We must be reminded that the hope of America is the home and the hope of the home is the Lord. Today we look once more at the Children and the Home, specifically we are exploring the life of a child in the home.

A mother once asked her husband, "Do you think we should take Junior to the zoo?"

The father replied, "Absolutely not. If they want him, let them come for him."

Sometimes we may feel like we are in a zoo when we are trying to guide our children through life. The fact is, most parents in today's world are simply giving in to their children. One noted foreign dignitary was asked what most surprised him about the American landscape. He answered, "The way parents in America obey their children."

Certainly we are aware that children are in trouble in America's homes. Juvenile delinquency is increasing at 7 times the rate of population. What is causing this? One noted expert on the family states that there is a poison of permissiveness pervading America's homes. In other words, parents are the blame for much of the problem. We have sown the wind of permissiveness and we are reaping the whirlwind of crime, disobedience, drugs, sexual license, and more.

Let's look today at a passage which tells us how to rear our children according to the Word of God and the God of the Word.

 Proverbs 22:6 ...

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."

This is one of the most misunderstood texts in the Bible, I'm sure of that. Many children raised in Christian families go on the live life outside the Christian faith. Always remember that Proverbs are statements of universal truth, but they are not necessarily promises. The greatest chance a child has to live a joyful, redeemed life in Christ is for that child to grow up in a godly Christian home and in a Bible-believing Church. However, it is not true that everyone who rears a child in this way will see their child follow them, or follow Christ.

Let's look at several things we can say about this text and truth today.

I. The Decisive Time for Training a Child

God does not say that you are to train up a teenager or a young person in God's way, but that you are to train up a CHILD in His way. It is easier to bend the twig when it is small than to bend it when it is large. You must start early in teaching a child God's love and God's way.

Proverbs 19:18 states ...

"Shape your son while there is hope."

Wet cement can be molded, but hardened cement can only be endured or broken.

Proverbs 13:24 reads ...

"To spare the rod is to hate your son!"

Little angels legs get longer and their wings get shorter, we are told. Now when the Bible states that we are not to "spare" the rod, it is not speaking of beating your children with a tree limb. This text is speaking of the need for children to be disciplined - guided - corrected - because of love! I never remember my dad spanking me without saying, "I love you, son. I don't want to do this, but I have to show you the way that is right - for you sake." I could see he meant but looking in his eyes.

Just think for a moment about one statistic that the SBC shares with us: 90% of all SBC missionaries were saved by the time they were 9 years old. The earlier we begin to guide our children in faith and in discipline, the better the chance of Proverbs 22:6 becoming a reality.

A. Commence Early

Do not ever discipline your children for acting like children. We are to give direction to our children as they grow in age and ability. Every child is born with a sinful nature, so if you let a child do what comes natural, he will shame himself and his family. This doesn't mean that we are to beat our children into submission, but rather that loving discipline and direction offers the best possible chance for your child or children to grow up loving God and living in a proper manner.

B. Continue Earnestly

You may not feel you can figure out your children, especially when they become teenagers. Actually, your children have a hard time figuring you out, too.

I read somewhere years ago about several suggestions for teens to consider in order to help their parents through these difficult years.

1. Don't shy away from speaking their language. Try some strange sounding phrases like, "Let me help you with the dishes," or "Yes, sir."

2. Try to understand their music. Play "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" on the bluetooth device until you get accustomed to the sound.

3. Be patient with their weaknesses. If you catch you mom sneaking a candy bar, don't jump all over her. Quietly set a good example.

4. Encourage your parents to talk about their problems. Keep in mind that things like earning a living or paying off the mortgage seem important to them.

5. Be tolerant of their appearance. When your father gets a haircut, don't try to hide him from your friends. Remember, it's important for him to look like his peers.

6. If they do something you think is wrong, let them know that you dislike their behavior, but you do not dislike them.

7. Above all, pray for them. They may seem confident on the outside but feel weak on the inside. They need God to get them through these difficult years.

II. The Dominant Themes in Training a Child

A. Devotion - Love

They need to hear you say, "I love you."

American children are given four billion dollars worth of toys a year (That figure is from 25 years ago and it is much higher now). That is more than the gross national product of over 60 nations on earth. It is not how much money you spend on them but how much time you give them that makes the greatest difference in their lives.

A shabbily dressed boy trudged several miles through the snowy streets of Chicago, determined to attend a Bible class that was conducted by D. L. Moody. When he arrived, he was asked, "Why did you come to a Sunday School so far away from your home? Why didn't you go to one of the churches near your home?" He answered simply, "Because you love a fellow over here." Like that lad, children all around us are still looking for love. They are longing to be warmly accepted by someone who really cares. Shakespeare said, "They do not truly love who do not show their love."

In the home or church, love goes a long way toward helping our children follow God's will in life.

B. Direction - Leadership

Luke 2:52 - Jesus grew up in four ways.

  • Intellectually
  • Physically
  • Spiritually
  • Socially

A cowboy said to a city slicker, "Hey, fellow, you're getting your saddle on backwards, aren't you?"

"That's what you think," the city dude replied. "You don't know which way I'm going."

When raising children it is hard to know which way their going, but they need direction. Helping them by showing God's love and your love will assist them in growing up in the four essential ways that Jesus grew.

C. Discipline

Proverbs 29:17

Proverbs 13:24

Proverbs 23:13

One man said, "My dad believed in meditation. He used to tell me, 'Sit down and shut up!'

Well, sometimes that is what a child needs. If you love your child, you will discipline your child. Some Christian parents fail in the arena of discipline because it seems easier to let things slide than to discipline your child. However, failing to lovingly discipline your child is wrong and damaging.

Look at Hebrews 12 and note that God disciplines his children and He refers to how we as parents are to discipline our children. If you do not discipline your child, you reveals that you think you know more than God.

Someone said, "Your child will not die from discipline, but he or she will make you think they are dying." Actually, loving discipline can deliver a soul from hell. It is very small step from rebelling against a parent to rebelling against the God who gave the parent the child.

  • Discipline should be Prompt - when he is old enough to disobey.
  • Discipline should be Proper - use the proper tool - "rod" speaks of a king. This means to use your authority, not to beat your child with a limb from a tree.

Somewhere I read, "In years gone by, papa administered a stern code of discipline to junior. However, the electric razor took away his razor strop, furnaces did away with the woodshed, and tax worries removed his few remaining hairs and the necessity for a hairbrush. Perhaps that is why kids are running wild today - dad ran out of weapons!"

Discipline ought to be carried with the following in mind:

1. A proper Target

Proverbs 10:13 "...the back - in the middle..." Measure your child and you will find that the middle is - guess where?

2. A Proper Temperment

Love and concern, not anger and violence

3. A Proper Time

Never in public

4. A Proper Technique

Strong enough to make the point but careful enough not to harm or distance the child from you or God.

III. The Determined Triumph after Training a Child

A. What this Verse does not Say

Not an iron-clad promise, but a general rule. Proverbs 13:1 - Good parents can turn out bad children. Look at 2 Kings 18:3 see 2 Kings 22.

Always remember, there is Only one perfect father - the Heavenly Father - He is the only one who produced a perfect Son - Jesus.

Some parent here today is beating yourself up because your child or children have not followed your directions, especially as it applies to your faith. 2 Kings 22:1-3 reminds us that Manasseh did not do what his father had done. Even the best parents had children who went their own way. We must do our best and leave the results to God.

B. What this Verse does Say

This refers to the bending of a bow. Training a child in the way, "...he should go." Don't make your child into what you used to be or hoped you could become. Don't try to make your children what you wanted to be and missed by a mile. Your child is not a little you - your child is God's unique creation and must grow into all that God intends for him or for her.


Long ago a traveler came upon an elderly man planting fruit trees. "You are very old," said the traveler, "and it will be many years before these begin to bear. You can't expect to enjoy them."

"O yes I can," said the gray‑haired man, "I am drawing pleasure from them NOW by anticipation!" Then, pointing to another section of his land, he asked, "Do you see those trees? They were loaded with fruit last fall. How I appreciate them. My father planted them for me to enjoy, and now I am planting these for MY children. Just thinking of their future happiness blesses me now."

  • If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
  • If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
  • If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
  • If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself.
  • If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilty.
  • If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be self-confident.
  • If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
  • If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative.
  • If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
  • If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
  • If a child lives with recognition, he learns to have a goal.
  • If a child lives with fairness, he learns what justice is.
  • If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is.
  • If a child lives with sincerity, he learns to have faith in himself and those around him.
  • If a child lives with love, he learns that the world is a wonderful place in which to live.
  • And, if a child lives in a home with faith in God, he has the greatest chance to trust in the Lord!
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