News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Kevin Ward

Train child 'the way he should go'

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it," Proverbs 22:6 tells us.

What does it mean to train a child in the way he should go? What is the way?

Many times we believe that the training pertains only to disciplining and helping children understand what is right or wrong. I do believe discipline is a major part of the parenting process, but there is really so much more.

Let us start with family habits. I once heard that children make one of two decisions about the behavior or habits that they see in their childhood environment.

They choose to either imitate what they see or compensate for what they lack. This goes back to the dreaded "I sound just like my parents" statement that many of us have made.

The truth here is that the children we raise are paying close attention to the way we act and react to our culture. How we respond to stress or disagreements in our homes will also be played out in the lives of our children.

Consider the time priorities that you have established in your situation. Do your children have a sense of importance to you? I once heard a pastor say, "The way we spell love to our children is T-I-M-E."

I remember my dad talking about honesty and treating everyone with respect regardless of the way they treated you back.

I remember family vacations and Saturday morning runs to the doughnut shop before my mom and sister got up. The principles and morals I picked up along the way of life can be traced back to those who shared their lives and hearts with me.

We as parents, grandparents, church workers, coaches and other role models have a great responsibility to influence our children for the good of the world and for their well-being.

Some of you may think, "I did not come from a great situation, and I turned out all right." For some that is the case. I have worked in youth ministry for eight years and have seen many students overcome their situations to become fully functioning adults. It can happen.

The question today is, what are you contributing to the lives of those watching you? How will you train up the children in your life in the way that they should go?

Life is not about what we take, it is really about what we leave behind.

The Rev. Kevin Ward, minister to students at Athens First Baptist Church, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for THE DAILY. For more information, call Melanie Smith on Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 340-2468.

Rev. Kevin Ward Rev. Kevin Ward

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