Teaching Children | The Institute for Creation Research
Teaching Children

“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 verse does not mean that if parents teach their children the Biblical way they will eventually return to the fold even if they wander away for many years. And certainly it does not encourage the modern pedagogical practice of giving them full freedom to do as they please.

Incidentally, modern educators often mis-define the term “education,” claiming that it comes from the Latin, educere, meaning to “draw out” or “educe.” On this basis, they assume that the function of education is to “draw out” the child, letting children express themselves freely in whatever way they wish.

The fact is, however, that it comes from another Latin word, educare, which is quite different in meaning. Educare means, literally, “to bring up a child,” and this meaning is probably what the King James translators had in mind when they translated the Hebrew of our text. Older dictionaries make this plain. Webster’s 1892 Dictionary, just a hundred years ago, defined “educate” as follows: “To bring up (a child); to instruct; to teach; to train; to rear; to discipline.”

As a matter of fact, however, not even this connotation yields the full meaning of the verse. The Hebrew word for “train up” actually means “consecrate” or “dedicate.” The phrase “his way” means the way belonging to him—that is, the way ordained for him by God when He created him. Thus the child’s parents should not try to impose their ambitions on the child, but try—through prayer, the word, and Spirit-led discernment—to help him find and follow God’s will for his life. As Hannah did Samuel (I Samuel 1:11,28), they should dedicate him to the Lord, lead him to the Lord, and then help him follow the will of the Lord. In this way is his true happiness, and he will follow it all his life. HMM

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