Introduction: If you are a parent, especially the parent of a
teenager, no doubt you have asked yourself, “What should I do now?”
The correct answers to problems are not always obvious. Some say it
takes the wisdom of Solomon to raise kids right. Some say the wisdom
of Dr. James Dobson. Let’s dive into the book of Proverbs and see
what God inspired Solomon to write about this important topic!

  1. The Task

    1. Read Proverbs 22:1-6. What does verse 1 tell us should be
      a major life goal? (A good name.)


      1. How do verses 2-5 suggest that we achieve that goal?
        (Being alert and humbly obeying God.)

      2. In your opinion, does verse 6 draw important context
        from the verses that precede it?

    1. I remember taking the deposition of a hostile and
      obnoxious witness who was an officer for a nurses union.
      I innocently asked her what “training” was required for
      nurses. She responded “nurses are not trained, they are
      educated!” (I then concluded(not so innocently)”I take it
      then, you are untrained in your profession?”) What do you
      think “train” means in Proverbs 22:6?

      1. Does it mean (v.3) to teach the child about life’s
        dangers and how to avoid them?

      2. Does it mean (v.4) to teach the child about humbly
        obeying God?

    2. Our lesson (Sunday) has an interesting paraphrase for
      verse 6: “Create an environment for life for a child, in
      keeping with his gifts or bent, and when he is old he will
      not depart from it.” What do you think about that

      1. Is it missing something important? Like the phrase
        “in the way he should go?” Or, is that idea contained
        in the phrase, “for life?” Is that idea contained in
        the phrase “in keeping with his gifts or bent?” (I
        think the text has been “bent” a great deal to
        convert “in the way he should go” (an objective
        standard based on obeying God) to “in keeping with
        his gifts or bent” (a subjective standard putting the
        child’s apparent will or inclination first).)

    3. Verse 6 also has a phrase I do not want to pass over
      without discussion. It says, “when he is old.” Does that
      mean we can expect our young people to stray? Or, does it
      mean you train when the child is young, and when he is old
      (i.e., out of your hands) he will stay with the program?

    4. We have learned that we have an obligation to train our
      young children. Let’s explore next how we do that.

  1. The Means

    1. Speaking of “bent,” let’s look next at Proverbs 29:15 and
      Proverbs 13:24. Spanking students at school is illegal in
      many (perhaps most) of the United States and dangerous to
      a teacher’s wallet in all. Even parents sometimes find
      themselves battling arrogant bureaucrats over spanking.

      1. Consider first Proverbs 29:15. The term “rod” here is
        the same used for a shepherd’s rod. What two
        concepts are compared in this text? (Active
        correction versus neglecting the child.)

        1. Vine’s Dictionary also tells us that the word
          translated “rod” can refer to a symbol of
          authority, such as a scepter or it can be “an
          instrument of warfare and oppression.” What do
          you think God had in mind when you consider His
          overall dealings with us? Can you see a picture
          of a shepherd’s rod firmly, but gently, used
          with authority?

        2. Another interesting insight into this word is
          that it also can mean “tribe.” What influence
          can your “tribe” have on the raising of your

    2. Let’s read next Proverbs 13:24. Here we have the same
      Hebrew word for “rod” as in our last text. I thought
      people refrained from spanking their children because they
      loved them! This says just the opposite. Can you explain?
      (If you love your children, and care about how they grow
      up, you will discipline them!)

      1. The Hebrew word translated “hate” here is “sane’.” Is
        it “insane” to refuse to discipline children? (We
        don’t want to get carried away with “root word”
        comparisons. I suspect the Hebrew root for “insane”
        comes from “untrustworthy.” However, I think the
        text is clear you actively harm your children if you
        refuse to discipline them.)

    3. Read Proverbs 3:11-12. Is discipline a life-long
      requirement for all of us, not just children?

      1. Is discipline something specially sent down on
        individuals from God?

        1. Or is it the natural order of things? (Both.
          This text suggests God’s active involvement in
          our discipline. However, just like gravity,
          getting in trouble for foolish activity is the
          order of the world. See Proverbs 16:22)

      2. Have you ever thought that God was disciplining you?

      3. What is God’s motive for disciplining us?

      4. If we do not discipline our children, will God
        discipline them?

      5. Would you rather leave the disciplining to God?

    4. Some of you may still be scrunched down in the back seats,
      holding your heads in horror at the though of spanking,
      and saying “his poor children!” Let’s look at some
      clarifying texts. Read Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians
      3:20-21. How can we discipline our children without
      “embittering” or “exasperating” them? (The first rule to
      remember is that the goal is love — you want to improve
      their life. If you are angry, if you have not clearly
      thought out the goal of the discipline, you are missing
      the most fundamental point. You should never strike a
      child just to strike him. You should never send a child to
      his room just to get rid of him. All discipline should
      have a well-thought out goal. This goal should be arrived
      at before the heat of the moment or the midst of anger.)

      1. If you have well-considered discipline for your
        children, will they be happy with it? (Read Proverbs
        12:15-16. It is unnatural that someone involved in
        foolishness will be pleased with correction.)

  2. The Rewards

    1. Read Proverbs 10:1, Proverbs 29:17 and Proverbs 17:21. If
      your child grows up to obey God, what is your reward? If
      he grows up to be a fool, what is your reward?

    2. Read Proverbs 19:18 and Proverbs 21:21. What is the reward
      to the child for proper discipline and training? (A proper
      upbringing gives your child hope in life. Failure to
      discipline can bring your child death.)

    3. Friends, if you train your children in the Lord, your life
      will be better and the lives of your children will be
      better. If you haven’t started that task before, will you
      do it now?

  3. NEXT WEEK we start a new quarter and a new study on prayer. Our
    lesson title is: The Model Pray-er and the Model Prayer: Christ.