In the Way They Should Go


“It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.”  Proverbs 19:2

“Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” Proverbs 19:18

It’s summer and for our family it means a slight slowing down of pace and more time together.  Our three oldest are all in school full-time which has been a great experience for us thus far.  As Anne Ortlund says, “children are wet cement,” so summertime also affords us the opportunity to reshape and course correct anything needing attention.

This is often spurred on by the fact our pace lends itself to more time to be observant of what is going on in their minds and hearts.  I have more time and space to know what they are thinking and how their world view is being shaped.

Early in June I think it was on a Simple Mom podcast where I heard “you’re not raising your boys to stay home but are raising them for someone else.”  It immediately reminded me of another Proverb that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” 

In the way he should go.

Because what all of us parents have to face is they should, in fact, go.  It’s good and right for them to go.

One day, they will need to go either to college, enter the work force, into marriage (hopefully all of the above).  They will go and create families of their own, participate in their own community, make their own choices, live in their own spaces and influence those around them.

They should go.

What our little baby has taught me in the last year is that it really does go by fast.

Just a couple of years ago I thought of discipline more as training, correction and immediate consequences for standard toddler and early child hood defiance.  But as my boys grow, I grow as a parent and I’m seeing discipline more as training to do the everyday things.

Discipline in thinking of and trusting the Lord when something is hard.  Knowing its okay when it’s hard and doing the hard thing can build their confidence in Him and themselves.  Discipline in getting up in the morning and taking care of household responsibilities and things needed for a good day.  Getting a good meal started, doing the laundry, managing time wisely.  Not rescuing when things go wrong but allowing the space and discomfort to figure it out themselves.

Of course these are things we do from the very beginning, but this summer the end game has become clearer.

If we teach them to be disciplined men, trusting God and being capable of living well and leading well…there is much hope in that.  But if they go, unprepared for the world, they are likely to fall prey to much.

At the same time the discipline required of us is to live it out first.  If we are not good examples, anything we say has no merit.  It also requires us to be observant of where each child is.  Each one is so different in the way they think and process life.  It’s necessary to observe and be knowledgeable so we don’t miss the way God is leading them.   We are officially a big family now so if we choose to parent in a one-size-fits-all manner, it’s far too easy to miss something because there is often a lot going on.

Proverbs 19:2 reminds me of the power of observation and listening.  Really listening not just to what God is showing me but what He is revealing to them.  Because if I really believe God has plan for each of their lives, then I have to accept it’s already begun and my job as a parent is to help them find the way.

The way they are to go.

7 thoughts on “In the Way They Should Go

  1. My walking friend and I are 62 years old with six grown children, four sons-in-laws, and ten grandchildren between us. When we’re tempted to fix and rescue them one of our favorite encouragements is, “Let’s not steal our children’s lessons”. We’re learning to step back, pray and wait, wait and pray, pray and fast. And pray. Amazingly hard even after all these years. xx

  2. Thank you Suzie for this insight. I have been thinking a lot lately about how sheltered I had kept C because I wanted to protect him. Now that we are walking with the Lord I am scrambling to “un-do” a lot of that which God would have never wanted me to do in the first place. I rescued him into total dependence and it is time (past time) to train him up to stand up and take responsibility for himself as God would want him to. With that, the training comes harder, for both of us. It also demands that I must rely on the Lord more that ever. God is writing his story, and at some point, my character in that story will ride off into the sunset. The best gift I can give him is to let him start living out the story God has for him.

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