Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
This proverb has been widely quoted, but almost as widely misunderstood. The words train up (Hebrew, chanak) is elsewhere always translated dedicate. That is, a child is to be dedicated to a certain calling, and then trained specifically for that purpose.
But exactly what is this callingthis way he should go? Parents often make the mistake of trying to lead their children into ways of their own choosing. The father wants his son to follow his own profession; the mother wants her daughter to marry a rich man. The child also may have ambitions that have been colored by the times. The boy may want to be a professional athlete and the girl a country singer.
The way he should go, however, is the way the Lord wants him to go, and we can be sure that the childs natural talents and interests will have been implanted in him by God for that high purpose. As Samuel was called into the priesthood while yet a child, and so dedicated by his mother, Hannah, and trained by the old priest, Eli, so we should recognize that God has a specific purpose for each of our children. The childs God-given abilities are to be used for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12) and need to be developed with this high purpose in view.
Both child and parents together should diligently seek to discern Gods leading, dedicate him or her to the Lord and His will, recognize the special talents and circumstances that God provides for this purpose, and then seek to encourage and prepare the child to fill that calling. Then, Gods promise is that the entire life (not just the left-overs after all the mistakes and wasted years) will be productive in the optimum career of Gods choosing. HMM