Proverbs 22:6 and Your Child's Free Will

  • Genesis 18:19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” 
  • Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

For decades, communism and socialism have controlled entire countries by dominating the teaching and training of the youth. The majority of the young then become adults who strongly adhere to their leaders and their teaching without question. Cults and false religions have throughout time controlled the masses by indoctrinating the youth. Today, our public schools have become prisons of indoctrination controlling the thoughts of our youth so much so that today’s generation believes themselves to be rebellious animals without any gender distinction. 

Why is it that the wicked and Satan can see in our children what many Christians cannot? The wicked are confident that daily teaching and training of our children will result in our offspring rejecting God and cleaving to their falsehoods. Yet, most Christian parents accept the devil’s lie that no parent can assuredly produce godly children. Why can the wicked do it and not believers? 

If I John 4:4 is true (“greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world”), then Christians have more success at training our children up in the way they should go than the wicked do in training them up in the way they shouldn’t go! 

A supposedly spiritual reason for why people disagree with Prov. 22:6 is the doctrine of man’s free will. When God made Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He granted us the freedom of choice. This freedom of choice causes some to feel that parents have little to no bearing on their child’s future. And yet, God was confident of Abraham in our text, Genesis 18:19, that Abraham’s leadership and fathering would result in those after him following God. How can that be if man has free will and choice? Well, how can it be that the wicked can dominate children’s education and control them? 

What many forget about man’s innate free will and choice is that man also has an innate pliability, especially children. All people, men and women alike, are able to be influenced and molded a certain way. This is why “peer pressure” affects even the strongest of us. From leadership and politics to the simplest child, we are affected by others around us. 

  • Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” 
  • I Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 

Like I Corinthians 15:33 warns, man is often deceived into forgetting how powerfully others change us. Children especially are born into this world in simplicity. They know nothing and are easily manipulated. 

  • Proverbs 14:15 “The simple believeth every word:” 

With all of this in mind then, we should be able to see why God promised in Proverbs 22:6 that training up a child in the way he should go will most definitely result in that child only choosing the way that he was trained in. Every parent starts with a simple child. Yes, that child has a free will. And yes, that child is bent towards sin. However, that child is still a simple, moldable piece of paper and what gets written, drawn, painted, and colored on that paper is up to you, parent.