Train Up A Child :: by Grant Phillips

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

We have all watched the deterioration of our youth since we began the removal of God from our society in 1963. One voice started the ball rolling by having Bible reading removed from the schools. From that point forward, God has been kicked out of every nook and cranny of society in this country.

Madalyn Murray O’Hair, one voice in this country among 189,241,798 people in the year 1963 was able to persuade our Supreme Court to remove Bible reading from the schools because it offended her. In other words, 00.000000528% of the total population, in 1963, determined for the remaining populace of 189,241,797, 99.999999471%, that Bible reading would no longer take place in the schools. Even if 241,797 people agreed with her, and I doubt it, that still means that 00.127771984% told the remaining populace of 189,000,000 people, 99.872228015%, that Bible reading in the schools would be no more.

This world has never been perfect, which includes our schools, but almost fifty years later society has gone to hell in a hand basket.

Children receive their greatest influence in the home and in the schools. If the home is a disaster, and all Godly influence is removed from the schools, what is left but everything that opposes anything to do with God?

Is it any wonder teachers are now afraid of the students, sexual practices are common place in the schools, drugs are destroying the minds of our youth, gangs roam the halls, crime is rampant, and education is failing in general? The youth of 1963 grew up with but a pinch of Godly influence. Then each following year there was less and less, until there was none to be found anywhere.

Our schools and homes are like a garden. The ground is tilled and fertilized, and then vegetables are planted and watered. The careful nurturing of those vegetables, by hoeing to remove the weeds that continuously grow and providing nourishing water, will produce good food to sustain the body. However, if the garden is left to fend for itself, weeds and harmful insects will take over until the garden is good for nothing. There will no longer be good food for sustenance, only a small wasteland of weeds and chiggers and dried up ground.

In our schools and many homes, vegetables are being planted, but there is no hoe being used to remove the weeds. Nothing is done about the many harmful insects, and there is no nourishing water. The vegetables that were planted will be choked out and die, producing nothing of any worth.

Our youth are the vegetables in the garden of life. By removing God, His commandments, and His Godly influence, something else will take the place God once held; i.e. the weeds and harmful insects that choke and kill. Anyone who has raised a garden knows that weeds and harmful insects need no encouragement. They just show up, continuously. Much work is involved in keeping the garden healthy from the destructive influence of the weeds and harmful insects. However, if someone takes your hoe, your insect repellents and your water bucket from you, there is nothing left for you to use to fend off the enemies of your plants. They are left to fend for themselves.

Before I proceed, I want to make clear that many, many young people are growing into worthwhile citizens because of the good influence in their lives. Many are planted firmly in God’s soil and are being nurtured. They are a pleasure and a gift to society.

On the other hand, there are so many more of our young ones who are swimming upstream so to speak. The influences of Satan’s world are all around them, and they accept them with glee. They embrace sexual practices outside of marriage, gothic lifestyles, and perverse sexual lifestyles such as homosexuality, laziness in education and at home, gang “families,” theft, murder, alcoholism, and the use of drugs. Why? Unfortunately, they either see the same thing at home, or they do not have parents who teach them right from wrong as God has provided for our instruction.

Often, even children from good Christian families embrace things which are not of God. One reason may be that they are just naturally prone for rebellion, but another reason may be that they are just spoiled.

Every child needs to know their parents love them. The parents must understand that they can be strict, but still show much love. Actually, by allowing the child to “get by” with something isn’t showing love, it shows cowardice or laziness on the part of the parent. Remember, your garden must be cared for, and your children are your vegetables you have planted. They are your pride and joy. It takes work to keep out damaging influences. Their ground must be cleared of weeds (Psalms 139:23). They must be provided spiritual protection against harmful influences (Ephesians 6:10-18). They must be watered to sustain growth (John 4:14; 2 Timothy 2:15).

I have noticed that many parents today provide everything materially for their children, and require no work from them. If we don’t teach our children to work around the house, they normally won’t do so on their own. Every child needs to be allowed to contribute their part of work around the home. Otherwise, they will generally grow up to be lazy, thinking everyone owes them a living.

If children are not taught responsibility, how can they be expected to show responsibility? Even in a non-Christian home, children need to be taught to be responsible.

Should children, regardless of the age, be paid to work around the house, in their own family setting? I’ll give you my opinion. The answer is “No.” “Why?”, because they are being paid. How, you say? Do not the parents already provide shelter, clothing, food, educational expenses, etc.? Then why would you pay a child to keep their own room clean, for example? Why would you pay them to wash the dishes, take out the garbage, clean the house, mow the lawn, etc.? It’s ridiculous to do so and harmful to them. That’s why you see grown children still living with Mommy and Daddy, and too sorry to even take out the garbage, put up their own clothes, or do anything else that needs to be done around the house. They were not taught responsibility when they were young.

What about allowances? I’m sure someone is thinking, “Should I give my child an allowance?” In my opinion, occasionally would be fine, but within reason. For example, they ask to go to a movie with their friend, but need money. Assuming you approve of the movie they will watch (and the friend), give them the money they need if they have none, but not necessarily the amount they want. What about large ticket items that they want but don’t need, such as an iPhone or even a car? If they want them badly enough and you approve, let them pay for them, with their own money that they have earned outside the home. I guarantee that if they purchase something they want, with your permission of course, with money they have earned “at the sweat of their own brow,” they will lovingly take care of that item. They learn responsibility.

Respect is another issue. Why do some students have no respect for their teachers? Could it be they haven’t been taught respect at home? What a novel idea! Teach respect at home?! No child should ever be permitted to talk back to or argue with their parents. We called it “sassing” when I was growing up. That would get you a quick attitude adjustment back then.

Today however, I see this constantly. And we wonder why there is so little respect shown for others. Parents need to remember they are not their children’s pal. They are not equals in authority. They are supposed to be parents! Parents are supposed to be in charge. They are supposed to be the reigning authority of the family. I am not even implying that parents should be bullies toward their children, no more so than they should be wimps … but parents.

Put on your badge of authority and teach your children respect. The rest of us would appreciate it.

Okay, we’ve talked about material things and respect, let’s talk more about their spiritual needs.

First of all, what about those children whose parents are not Christian? Even in this household, if the children are taught responsibility, through love, discipline and hard work, at least they will not be prone to become adult delinquents. They will at least have a better chance for the Holy Spirit to draw them toward their spiritual need … God.

I feel that those blessed children of Christian parents have “a leg up,”IF their parents recognize and perform their Christian responsibility toward their children. But even so, children of Christian families “turn bad” too. Why is that?  Let’s assume that the parents have done everything by the Book, the Bible, but little Junior chooses sin over God. What happened? What happened is that each person has to decide for themselves what they are going to do with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is not a collective decision. It is an individual decision. We can supply all the love, spiritual guidance, Biblical teaching, discipline, and training humanly possible, but this is the one area in their life where we cannot make the decision for them. They must decide for themselves.

Now for the good news. It is possible that the continual prayer of the parents for that child can guide that child home.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

He or she may go through rebellion against God and family, but the Lord tells us:

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)

Don’t give up.

Our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren today face satanic obstacles we never dreamed of. Do your best as unto the Lord, and leave it with Him. That’s all you can do, and that’s not a last resort, that’s the smart thing to do.


Remember also, there are no perfect parents. You failed? Who hasn’t? There comes a time in that child’s life, in the womb, when we must turn them over to the Heavenly Father, and continue our daily prayer on their behalf.

Grant Phillips