“Train a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not turn away from it.”
I currently live in a home with 4 children, ages 8 months to 7 years…(and their parents, Thank God!) LOTS of activity….lots of interactions….lots of activity (did I say that already???) They’re all at different levels of understanding, temperament, and focus capabilities. They’re also home-schooled, so there’s a lot of teaching and learning going on. Hopefully.
My grandchildren are actively learning educationally. Books, activities, games, and physical experiences. They are learning things that will benefit them on many levels for the rest of their lives.
But this verse in Proverbs is not so much focused on intellectual learning. Training is very inter-active in nature . . . not so much in intellectual information, but in life skills that will carry them throughout all that LIFE will bring their way. No easy answers, no clear equations, not book learning. Training requires active engagement, where both the trainer and the trainee are working together. It’s “Do what I do…” stuff that will stick with them throughout their lives.
Years ago, I had an interpreting job that was, thankfully, a one-time-only job. I had to interpret a welding job training to a deaf young man. All the pre-training of information had been done in the classroom. Now it was “hands-on” time. He, his trainer, and I had our welding equipment on, and it was time to actually weld. “One…two…three….masks down.”
Instantly, we were all in the dark. The mask had a blackened shield to block out the searing welding flame. But without being able to hear and see the trainer, the training quickly turned into laughter as the deaf man and I realized that we could not see each other at all. No lip-reading possible. No sign language visible. We were all in the dark….literally. The trainer was talking and doing his training, I could hear him, but the deaf young man could neither hear or see the trainer’s words, nor my hands signing to him. I couldn’t even see him! Needless to say, no hands-on training took place that day! But we all had a good laugh.
Essential to training is the full experience of seeing, understanding, gaining the necessary knowledge, and watching it lived-out by the trainer. It’s not normally a “one time” training. Repetition is essential. And the success of the training depends on how we have conveyed the message in ways that will be most easily absorbed by those watching and learning from our lives.
What are we living out to our children . . . grandchildren . . . as well as the Believers in our lives? Learning through Book knowledge, or through verbal information is important. But actively living out the realities of following Christ in our daily lives is how those who are watching will best see, absorb, and learn.
Anyone who has chosen to follow Christ steps into an instant “trainer” role, whether intentional or not. We become one of His own. And as our world watches, we begin to “train” through our very lives, every day, 24/7.
So . . . what are those close to you learning from your life?