The So-Far Series: Training a Child

Inspired by a list of parenting lessons and resources that I found in my journal, I’ve decided to use this week as a “So-Far Series” and share our thoughts with YOU!

By the way, be sure to dust off your own opinions for Friday’s “So-Far” Shebang when you can Mr. Linky or comment your best advice… so far.

With 4 short years of experience, a pile of fantastic resources, and limitless wisdom from our parents and friends, here is one thing we know So-Far…


This past weekend, I was laughing with some friends at the proverb, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Laughing, you know, because in a handful of short, sweet words are hidden hours and hours of belabored prayer, effort, refinement, and trust.

We agreed that the writer should have jokingly written it this way: “Train up a child in the way he should go (You know, “Train him UP!”)… with a smiley face or something…

…’cause the writer must have known it’s hard, uncharted, walkin’-by-faith work.

So, how do we even begin to help our children (who are, incidentally, always quite different than ourselves) to run from the specific temptations that come their way, to run into the beauty of God as He reveals Himself to them specifically, and to do the good works that He has planned for them to do from before the creation of the world?

Although each child’s training will be distinct, it all centers around some simple training that applies to all children: obedience, attention, and truthfulness are three examples of non-negotiable, universal virtues that do not come naturally to children, but must be given to them through the vigilant help of their parents. And this help must begin the moment they are born.

We’ve deeply appreciated Ted Tripp’s wisdom in Shepherding a Child’s Heart. He encourages us to take disobedience very seriously; each act of disobedience that we overlook is a choice to not love our child truly.

The next book on my parenting reading list is Ginger Plowman’s Don’t Make Me Count to Three. I’ve heard great things about its practical advice to teach and expect true obedience.

We’ve also deeply – deeply – appreciated the wisdom of two ministries in particular:

* No Greater Joy (To Train Up a Child and The Child Training 101 DVD will get you started), and

* Vision Forum

(Of course, you are bound to come across criticism of both these ministries: “they’re too extreme, which can result in abuse”, “they advocate the rod, which can result in abuse”, “they advocate patriarchy, which can result in abuse”, etc.  But we must remember that many lovely God-ordained things are mutated by the enemy of our souls: what God intends for good, the enemy mutates into ill. It comes down to who we worship. Each of these ministries has a unique style of communication and if you’ve got a weak stomach regarding what God’s Word really says regarding discipline and family, you might be turned off by them. But I’m convinced that when we read their material intelligently – with the guidance of Scripture and the Holy Spirit – we glean tremendous insight. So dig in wisely and enjoy!)

What we have discovered is that, as always, obedience to God’s Word and close attention to our children’s hearts is both the cause and effect of great joy.

“We owe knowledge to the ignorant, comfort to the distressed, healing to the sick, reverence, courtesy and kindness to all men especially to those with whom we are connected by ties of family or neighborhood; and the sense of these dues does not come by nature.” – Charlotte Mason

May we sacrifice convenience, ignorance, and the easy road in order to train our children in the Lord.







2 responses to “The So-Far Series: Training a Child”

  1. Lois Rothgeb Avatar
    Lois Rothgeb

    Wow, Laura, what a great series you are doing! I love it. I also love the Charlotte Mason quotation. Thank you so much for sharing your well-crafted thoughts with us, your readers. Bless you!

  2. Lisa @ *Fields of Grace* Avatar

    I think my favorite parenting resource *so far* is the book Raising Godly Tomatoes ( I am loving your series! Found you at MMM on Like a Warm Cup of Coffee; your post on entitlement has rocked not only my world, but even more importantly my marriage. Thanks!

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