Proverbs 22: 6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
At face value, then, the Bible appears to promise parents that if they train up their children correctly, their children will not fail them. There are more verses too.
Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Proverbs 23:13-14 – Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 29:15 – The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Now clearly, a straightforward reading does not use any form of textual or Biblical analysis. I’m not necessarily trying to say that the Bible does promise that children who are trained properly will turn into perfectly “godly” adults. I’m simply explaining that you can understand why some people might come to such a conclusion and that they have plenty of proof texts.
As goes the child so goes the future adult— and the future parent. At every moment, parents holding little children are holding the future. Parenting, the most important and demanding job in the world comes on us by default. Ready or not, prepared or ill equipped, all parents produce fruit that lasts throughout eternity. It is like stopping everyone that walks down the street and seating them at a piano to play for five minutes. The melody or the dissonance goes on and on from one generation to the next unless someone takes the time to break the cycle and learn the skill of parenting.
Did you catch that? If you parent correctly, you will produce “fruit that lasts throughout eternity.” You can have perfect children. Vision Forum promises the same on their webpage:Through materials they write and record, the Pearls are training parents to break the bad habits passed down from former generations and to recognize and emulate the wisdom of those who have gone before. The Bible and common sense are the foundations for effective parenting.
The defining crisis of our age is the systematic annihilation of the Biblical family. The family was the first institution created by God and blessed by Christ during His earthly ministry. It is God’s primary vehicle for communicating covenant promises to the next generation. It is the basic agency of dominion on earth. Within the context of the family, the father is the God-ordained vision communicator. Minimize the father and the family will perish. Minimize the family and you have neutralized the church. The sad truth is that broken and weak families are the norm even within the most conservative and doctrinally orthodox church assemblies. This is in large part due to the death of Biblical patriarchy with its emphasis on father-directed vision, leadership, and self-sacrifice. The tragedy gets worse. Though many of us would firmly stand for the proposition that good doctrine leads to sound living, the fact is that rebellious children, broken homes, and vision-less fathers are every bit as present in the Reformed community as the Dispensational. … The mission of The Vision Forum is to address this problem. … At the heart of the message we share is a commitment to see the wedding of orthodoxy and orthopraxy among the people of God. Sound doctrine and sound living must come together. We can preach the covenant and the sovereignty of God until we are blue in the face, but if we allow our children to be educated by Canaanites, if we encourage our daughters to pursue a careerist philosophy, if we fail to make our homes economically vital, hospitable centers for love and learning, we are hypocrites.
In some sense, though, the actions of my parents and others like them make sense. After all, my parents aren’t used to trusting their children to God. Rather, they’re used to trusting that God has promised that if they raise their children just so their children will turn out to be just right. This idea puts my parents at the center, not God. They are responsible for how their children turn out, not God. And now that we’re grown, that habit may be difficult to kick. That, I think, is the heart of the problem. And that is why I say that my parents have a trust problem. These formulas are like crack – they’re extremely addictive and can destroy your life.