"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it"
There are two ideas that should be explored in this verse:
One, that each child has a way that suits them. According to their way is how the original reads. Each child in your family has a pathway that is unique to them. They have been given certain gifts, talents, and abilities that direct them for God's glory in a specific direction. It is that direction that the parents must be sensitive to. God is counting on the parents to watch for the signs of an aptitude and gifting in a particular area. It is not okay to just send them down the path that you went down. What is their path?
Two, that each child must make sure that their path stays within the boundaries of righteousness. The place to learn how to live in a moral sense is with parents. Right and wrong; good and evil; and even good, better, and best is something that parents must instill.
The verses that precede this verse and form the odd type of context that Proverbs contains are verses about the reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards himself will be far from them. It is incumbent upon the parents that they show their children how to be humble and how to live in the fear of the Lord. It is absolutely crucial that parents also show their children the thorns and the snares that are in the way of the twisted; those who live outside the boundaries of the Ten Commandments. Their lives are filled with lies, rape, anger, and insecurity. This type of training is a part of the parents’ responsibility.
The other day when our family when to a local swap meet, we had a window on the life of all kinds of people – especially the thorns and snares that are in the path of the perverse. The number of people who were living out a life of trying to get by on the crumbs of sin was amazing. They were bottom feeding. I want my girls to understand that if you embrace that life, you get those consequences or if you embrace a person like that, you get that life.
God has so richly blessed me and my family. We have been spiritually blessed with a sense of God's presence and guidance. We have been mentally blessed by great schools and monies to send our girls to good schools. We have been emotionally blessed by having peace in our home and an “I want to be here” atmosphere. We have been blessed physically by health and an absence of catastrophes. I desperately want my children to understand how to live in the fear of the Lord and live in the bounty of His love. He is a great and awesome God who has saved us from our sins and asks us to live life a certain way within a broad and wonderful plain. It is not narrow and confining but deep and exciting. It does not have the deep sorrow of those who live in inequity outside the boundaries of the Ten Commandments.