Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.
We love this verse. It sums up our calling as parents and the reason why we do what we do.
Our calling: teach our children in good and godly ways. Our hope: they will grow into mature, God-loving and God-honoring adults.
The book of Proverbs is full of sage advice. Some would even call some of its words “promises”. But I don’t call this verse a promise. That’s because I know many parents of grown children who have strayed. Drugs, infidelity, no connection to a church, lack of commitment to Jesus, whatever it may be … these parents wonder what they could have done differently. Their disappointment and fear are palpable.
True, God puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of parents. But in the end, your child will make his or her own decisions. Each person is a spiritual being, and even if we do everything right, they may still depart from our teaching.
Our hope, though – while our children are still young – is that this verse will prove true in our family. It’s our motivation and goal.
Related Add-on Verse… Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
2. Colossians 3:21
Parents, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Okay, most translations say “Father”, but the mothers can accept this verse as well. I think Paul is advocating for parental gentleness. Children’s hearts are fragile – and they adore their parents. We are told to not be too hard on them, to not bring out resentfulness.
I try to generally be a sweet and gentle mother. But there are times when I get harsh. Like when he keeps running away from me as I try to get his shoes on and get out the door. Or when she is squealing at me to pick her up but I’m preparing dinner. Or when I’m working on putting the baby to sleep but big brother keeps opening and closing the nursery door, distracting her.
I can get downright irritable and mean.
But I don’t want my children to live with discouragement. Dear God, help me have patience and not cause these little ones to lose heart!
Related Add-on Verse… Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. AND Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
3. Psalm 127:3
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
This is just a time to say thank you.
Thank you God, for this little one I get to love. Thank you for making my life more full with a child’s presence. We are grateful we get to experience his first giggle, her first step, his curiosity, her delight. It is all a wonder. We feel joy that we get to be parents.
Related Add-on Verse… James 1:17a – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.
4. Deuteronomy 6:6–7
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
This command expresses our children’s need for repetition. They have to hear about God again and again before they can trust in an invisible Creator. Reinforcement of truths is what builds their spiritual foundation.
We can use songs, stories, memorization, and prayers.
I also appreciate the fact that Moses is talking about it being a parent’s responsibility to teach faith. He says it should be woven into their everyday routines. He does not say that their spiritual upbringing is the responsibility of the priests and prophets.
As a pastor, I’ve met many parents who leave most of the God-talk to youth and children’s ministers. But every study shows that it’s a parent’s influence that is most meaningful.
Related Add-on Verse… 2 Timothy 3:16-17 –All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
5. John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
I think every parent needs to know this verse by heart. It is the basic message of the gospel in one sentence.
Nothing is more simple or essential.
We should have our children memorize it as young as possible, too.
If we struggle with explaining what salvation is or we are worried about remembering the four spiritual laws or the Romans Road or whatever … then John 3:16 is the place to fall back on. It’s about God’s love, Jesus’ sacrifice, and their free gift given by faith.
Related Add-on Verse… Romans 5:8 – God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Question for you: What is another one of your favorite verses when it comes to parenting?