“… these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
— Deuteronomy 6:6–7
Are you ever discouraged with your children? Let me encourage those of you who have children or hope to have children someday—whatever challenges you face in parenting, don’t ever give up. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” This familiar saying contains a Biblical truth: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Knowing how much parents love their children in all their moods and phases, God has given parents the responsibility for “bending the twig,” for training children in all aspects of life.
Surprising as it may seem, the American habit of sending children to public schools with the expectation that the schools will teach them everything is a relatively recent development. From the time the Pilgrims landed in the early 1600s to the middle of the nineteenth century, parents maintained responsibility for their children’s education. When public education first began, parents didn’t need to worry about what the schools would teach their children because, for the first hundred years, the curriculum included Bible reading and prayers. Today, I am sad to say, our society has allowed the eradication of both of these.
Because we can no longer rely upon the school system to support our Christian views, we must work even harder to ensure that our children grow in Christ. How do we bend the twig? Our children need a God-centered education, one that teaches sound moral principles, emphasizes their creation in God’s image, and presents the salvation message. They need to have high academic standards set for them and to have direction toward attaining these standards through discipline that includes guidelines, boundaries, and rewards. And we need to teach our children patriotism. Though our country has many flaws, it is still the most blessed nation on earth.
So don’t give up. Keep bending the twig. If you do, you will one day have a tree that stands tall and bears much fruit for God’s glory.