A statement on a local newscast caught my attention. A father being interviewed said, “It’s better to develop strong children than to repair broken adults.” The more I reflected on the statement, the more I appreciated the wisdom of this father.
Mirroring the wisdom of Solomon, this father spoke a truth as relevant today as it was in Solomon’s day: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6, NIV). I do not believe this verse is necessarily a promise, but I certainly believe it is an essential principle for parenting.
The great classical Bible commentator Matthew Henry offered the following observation on Proverbs 22:6: “Train children, not in the way they would go, that of their corrupt hearts, but in the way they should go; in which, if you love them, you would have them go. As soon as possible every child should be led to the knowledge of the Saviour.”
How much better it is to invest our time and energy in developing positive and strong moral values in children than it is to try to rescue dysfunctional adults. The phrase, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree,” was coined in the 18th century by poet Alexander Pope. The meaning is centered on the idea that early influences have a permanent effect. The experiences children go through and lessons they learn can and will shape who they are and how they act later in life.
~ Brother Roy