In examining the Who of child training, we’ve seen that the parent has a primary responsibility for training the child to make decisions. This requires that the child perform his responsibility to be obedient to his parents. We’ve already seen that such obedience is incorporated in “the first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2). The fact of a promise gives assurance to the blessing of obedience. We now look at the Why of Training a Child to discover the necessity for such obedience.
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15)
The parents’ responsibility to train a child is first seen because the natural heart is bound in foolishness; it is deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), and is “estranged from the womb” (Psalm 58:3). Naturally speaking, a child is ungodly and must be taught “in the way he should go.” Otherwise he will have no knowledge of such; and his own devices will not be sufficiently able to instruct him in anything other than wickedness.
The natural, ungodly state of a child must be corrected by proper training, teaching him to live a godly life. When the natural wickedness of a child is not checked by corrective training, when he is “left to himself” to develop from child to adult; he will carry this wickedness and foolishness into his adult years, become a parent himself, and continue a cycle of parenting which breeds ungodly children. In short, children need to be trained in the way they should go, so they will know how to train their own children.
“For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” (Matthew 15:4)
Children have the responsibility to submit to the training of the parent because God commanded it so. So often we have to be coerced into obedience. This does not mean we want to understand the commandment, only that we want to see a benefit from it. In the simplest of terms, a child is told and expected to honor his father and mother because God said so. He is the Authority.
Even so, this command is not a demand for blind obedience, because Scripture gives ample reason to expect a benefit from obedience. “The first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2) ushers the child into a life of reliance upon the faithfulness of God to perform His Word and establish His promises. This means of cultivating a relationship between the child and God cannot be taken lightly. Scripture tells of Samuel, David, and other men of God whose relationship with the Lord began at an early age. The child that would live as a victorious adult should first live as a submissive and obedient child, “For God commanded.”