Train Up Your Children in 3 New Ways
Purposeful living is intentional living. One of my purposeful livings involves training up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). I feel called to bring Godly blessings into my family line and leave a Godly legacy forward.
We often hear this from parents who are devoted to serving the Lord: my children depart from the ways of God and even the faith community after they enter college. Statistics are backing up these claims from parents. According to the 2019 Lifeway Research Study, 66 % of young men and women raised in the church walk away from faith entirely in college.
Like many parents, I pray for my girls to walk with God and love God. My children went through some difficult times when we moved across continents. Even though we were born Chinese, cultural shocks from the USA to Hong Kong were significant.
New meaning of ‘Train Up’ a Child
Despite many mistakes in raising my two daughters, it is a delight to see my 20-year-old daughter growing in maturity. She is not walking away from her faith; instead, she is making an impact by being a Christ-follower in college. She is also using her gifting to serve God.
Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Our innate understanding of ‘train up’ involves discipline, bending, pruning, and directing our children to the ways we think are right. ‘Train up’ in Hebrews has another meaning: dedicate and make experienced.
“Dedicate” in Merriam-webster means:
- to devote to the worship of a divine being specifically
- to set apart to a definite use
- to commit to a goal or way of life
As parents, we dedicate our children to the Lord and walk in God’s ways. That includes three aspects:
- Devote our children to the worship of God.
- Set apart.
- Commit to a goal or way of life of loving and serving God with their talents and skills.
Let’s look at these three aspects in detail.
- Devote our children to the worship of God
Both of my daughters are musical, and they learn to play piano starting at a young age. Worship God does not equate to singing or playing an instrument. As they progress with their musical skills, we pray for the opportunity of serving on the church worship team. God answered our prayers. I believe that worship involves the whole being. What is in you will come out and influence those around you. In the beginning, kids may focus on skills, and they will grow in discernment on knowing the presence of God when they are around it.
- Set apart to a definite use
We came from an Asian background where our parents wanted us to be well-do so that they would push for the study and profession of medicine, law, or engineering. My husband and I are not keen on making our dreams and desires come true in our children’s education and vocation choices. However, we observe their natural aptitude and guide them to what they love to do with their talents to make a difference in society.
- Commit to a way of missional life
We are doing well in this area because of our love for missions. We, as parents, have the most influence on their faith journey. Here are a few things that we have done consistently with our children:
- Bring them with us on prayer walks.
- Involve them with us in evangelical outreaches.
- Share our God-encounters at the dinner table.
- Resolve emotional and relational issues through prayer and wise counsel.
We are not perfect parents. I thank God that my girls have the opportunity of experiencing God for themselves. They not only experience God through answered prayer in daily life but participate in His power in healing and salvations in mission trips and prayer walks.
It made such a deep imprint on my daughters when my 20-year-old daughter prayed for an 80-year-old lady in a Cambodian village. The old lady was blind and was able to see after her prayer! My girls have such belief in the power of prayer. Even my 10-year-old witnessed back pain healing after her prayer for leg growth.
Sometimes, we easily equate ‘training up’ children with providing knowledge about God. Providing the opportunity of experiencing God points our children to Him and follow His ways. Parenting is one area of purposeful living. Check out Purposeful Living Coaching for life with a godly legacy.
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