A proverb is a short saying that expresses a rudimentary truth or practical principle. In everyday life, parents hear sayings based on biblical proverbs, but may not be aware of their origins. Biblical proverbs can be broken down into different areas and you can use them to help improve your parenting skills.
Of the Bible proverbs related to parenting, one of the most well-known is Proverbs 22:6, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." This talks about your responsibility as a parent to lead your child in the right path. The way he should go refers to the child's direction in life. The thing many people miss is that the word train, in Hebrew, is chanak, which means to dedicate. In this context, the parents' role is to train or dedicate the child to the ways of godly wisdom. The goal is to raise a child who becomes a mature, responsible adult who loves God and others.
Proverbs in the Bible is loaded with instruction in godly wisdom. If you look at the rest of chapter 22, you find it filled with words of wisdom. This is a good place to start in training your child in the ways of the Lord. These proverbs make God's ways clear. However, when educating your child in these ways, it's more than reading a verse or even memorizing a verse. The important thing is about learning how to apply it to everyday life. Knowing and applying the truth is how God's principles are instilled.
Other Examples of Responsible Parenting
Here are a few more proverbs from chapter 22. These can be teaching opportunities you incorporate into your Christian parental responsibilities.
- Be a lender, not a borrower. (Proverbs 22:7)
- Be generous and share with the poor and needy. (Proverbs 22: 9)
- Don't be a mocker (person unwilling to change). (Proverbs 22:10)
- Follow wise instruction so you may be confident in the Lord. (Proverbs 22:19)
- Don't be the companion of an angry man or you will become like him. (Proverbs 22:24)
Raising Up a Child
Proverbs 1:8-9 encourage a son to pay attention to what his father has taught him and not to forget his mother's instruction. These teachings are compared to a garland worn on the head and a chain around the neck; such items are attractive and evident to all those near the person wearing them. This is a metaphor for the idea that the godly teachings of the parents are to be evident and attractive in the children they rear.
Parents and Children
Proverbs 6:20-24 are another reminder of the importance of a child obeying what his father tells him to do as well as heeding his mother's teaching. Children are to bind these teachings to their hearts (the heart represents the inner person), as well as fasten them around their necks, which represents the fact that the teachings will be evident to those around the child. What you teach your child is to serve as a guide through life. In verse 24, the importance of correction and discipline is also emphasized.
Being a Good Parent
It is important to be a good parent to your child and provide them with the proper training in life. This will help them to grow into a good adult. For example, these proverbs show us how to be a good parent.
- In Proverbs 10:1, which is written by Solomon, parents are reminded that "A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother." This highlights the outcome of instilling godly principles and wisdom, and the negative results that ensue if this training is neglected.
- Proverbs 23:24-25 promises great joy to the father of a righteous man and reiterates that he will delight in a wise son. Verse 26 is a reminder that a righteous son is one who gives God his heart and keeps his attention trained on His ways.
Parents Being Wrong
It is important for a parent to raise up their child right. However, if they do wrong, there are several proverbs that let us know what will happen.
- In Proverb 19: 18-20, it shows us that "Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death. A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again. Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future." Therefore, it is important to admit you are wrong and work to be a good loving parent.
- Proverbs 13:22 also tells us, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous." It is important to parent your children well with wisdom and guidance.
- Proverbs 20:7 also shows, "The righteous who walks in his integrity- blessed are his children after him!" It is important to be righteous and true when rearing a child. This will also help your child to grow up righteous as well.
Loving Your Parents
Loving and respecting your parents is as important as loving your child. There are several proverbs that teach us about the importance of loving our parents and the consequences if we don't.
- Proverbs 20:20 shows us that, "If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness." This could be seen as you losing the light of God.
- Proverbs 23:22 it states, "Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old." This proverb just reiterates how important it is to care for and listen to your elderly parents.
- Finally, Proverbs 30:17 shows us "The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures." This demonstrates that if you don't take good care of your parents then you will be left alone and suffering in life.
Parents and Discipline
There are a lot of proverbs that deal with disciplining your children. For example, "spare the rod spoil the child," is from Proverbs 29:15. Other proverbs include:
- Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)
- On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding. (Proverbs 10:13)
- Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. (Proverb 29:17)
- A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother. (Proverb 29:15)
Proverbs for Parenting Today
Modern culture has changed since the days when Solomon wrote Proverbs, but the godly principles presented in it are eternal and timeless. This book of the Bible includes several excellent Bible lessons for children, as well as for their guardians. As parents, teaching these principles to our children can lay the foundation God desires. The result is a child that grows into an adult who knows the way he should go and doesn't leave that path.