Parenting Myth #3: Godly parenting guarantees godly kids.
Day 3 – Parenting Myth #3: Godly parenting guarantees godly kids.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when
he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6, ESV
Many parents fall into this trap of thinking Godly parenting guarantees godly kids. It’s an easy misunderstanding of scripture. It’s important to remember the Bible is composed of 66 different books: each book has an author, there are various genres, such as poetry, historical narratives, wisdom literature, etc.
The Proverbs are wisdom literature, written for principles to live a Godly life. The beginning four verses of chapter one in Proverbs describe what’s called “authorial intent”: “The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth” (Proverbs 1:1-4). Clearly the author intends this writing to provide wisdom; it is not a list of God’s perfect promises to a parent.
One scholar notes the following:
“Some parents, however, have sought to follow this directive but without this result. Their children have strayed from the godly training the parents gave them. This illustrates the nature of a “proverb.” A proverb is a literary device whereby a general truth is brought to bear on a specific situation. Many of the proverbs are not absolute guarantees, for they express truths that are necessarily conditioned by prevailing circumstances.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
While teaching and training are important, and the environment does play a major factor in the outcome of parenting a child, there are other factors such as genetics, sin, and personal choices that also are major contributors to a person’s outcome in life.
As the parent of an adoptive child, it’s clear that genetics are playing a critical role in our child’s behavior despite how we parent, teach, and train our child. Additionally, it’s important to realize that foolishness and folly are bound up in the heart of each child, and they will make mistakes and many choices that are harmful and hurtful despite how well they’ve been parented (Proverbs 22:15). The real test is to see how they act and live when they are grown adults. The best gift a parent can give is modeling Godly living to the child in an environment with a loving father and respectful wife who are committed to Jesus Christ and their family! No parent is perfect, but God’s word is good and true.
We should all pray and seek to train our children in the way they should go, which likely means the following things: First, there is a unique learning style of the child, and second, that there is a clear and righteous way to live as a child. We can hold onto to this principle that surely increases our probability of raising a child that will grow to honor and love God, and live out the faith.