At different times, in every culture, there have been different kinds of education. Currently, in Europe and elsewhere, we talk a lot about a child’s brain, its flexibility, and the different zones. It is true that our attitudes, our actions and reactions towards a child have an impact on its present and future, its behaviour, its life choices.
A child is not fully-developed at birth but someone who is work in progress: body, soul and spirit.
The Bible speaks of one child named Joash (2 Kings 11 and 12) who was hidden up to the age of 7, because he had been threatened by death. For the first six years, he was protected by his aunt, Josheba, and Jehojada, the chief priest at the temple in Jerusalem. In his early childhood, he was educated in the thoughts of God, through His Word, and through the example of adults who really loved God. When he was made king at the age of seven, he followed all the advice that the priest Jehojada had given him. These were good years for the country. People gave God first place in their lives.
But there is a phrase, a verse which is very positive but which suggests a less than glorious ending, “Joash did what was right in the Lord’s eyes as long as he followed Jehojada’s advice.”
Unfortunately, when Jehojada died, Joash followed different advice, bad advice from people who did not think about honouring God. And this saw the beginning of a succession of revolts and treason which ended with Joash’s murder.
Why does God tell us this story? Among other things, God draws our attention to the ways we can help our children to build their own life and not just be copies of us or people forced to be the same as everyone else.
We are called to help our children to make choices from a very young age and to think about the consequences of their choices. It’s education about taking responsibility. Of course, this must be done taking into consideration the stage of development of each child, in situations that don’t put them in any danger.
Sometimes young people, even young adults, choose a different way from the one they were brought-up with in their childhood, as a reaction or rebellion, wanting to make their own choices and express their own beliefs.
A verse in God’s Word talks about parents, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” – Proverbs 22:6 (NLTse).
A good education through example and good advice from God’s Word and Spirit will, sooner or later, bring a good result. Have confidence!