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A study developed by Jean Piaget, who is regarded as founder of modern day child psychology highlights five main areas that are covered within children psychology: development, milestones, behavior, emotions and socialization. Under the umbrella of development, three main ideas were explored: physical development, cognitive/intellectual development, social and emotional development. The physical development of a medically healthy child is most times stable and relatively predictable. Cognitive or intellectual development is the process a child uses to acquire knowledge: things such as languages, thoughts, imagination and reasoning. Social and emotional go hand in hand for adults and children alike. This stage teaches a child how to relate with others, how to feel and how to express what they feel. It is the stage where trust, fear, pride and humor are all developed. 

Building The Foundations Of The Gospel In a Child 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 KJV

The original text of the word translated train in our theme scripture has different yet inextricably linked meanings. The first I would like to expound on is to dedicate. Many of us are familiar with the story of Hannah who was barren for years and had been mocked by her concubines, and in her deep distress she made a prayer to God that would make her the mother of one of the greatest priests in all Israel (1 Samuel 1). The prayer Hannah made was way before she conceived. This gives us a very important lesson that a mother has the power to command the destiny of her children through prayer and make a lifelong covenant with God that will undergird the life of this child. This is not to say that those who did not know this truth before they gave birth stand no chance to petition God and make covenants that cover their children; instead it is an opportunity to remind you that our God is merciful and wills to do good in our lives and our families. 

The second meaning tied to the word train is to make submissive and experienced. It has been proved scientifically through observation and psychological evidence that children learn most by observing their surroundings especially in their formative years. In 1985, in the nation of Uganda, a young man by the name of Robert Mayanja was found living in the jungle by the NRA soldiers. Robert had lived in the jungle for what seemed to be his entire life up until that point, and had evidently been adopted by a pack of monkeys. An interesting observation made by the soldiers that found him first was that though Robert was fully human, he had completely adopted the lifestyle, posture and attitude of the monkeys which he had grown up with. He did not speak, he jumped and behaved like them and ate all that they ate.

So it is with children born in homes. They learn through observing the human beings in their vicinity. They draw their behaviors and routines from the individuals surrounding them. This represents an advantage for parents raising their children from birth because it gives you an opportunity to determine what their primary interactions will be. A common mistake made by most parents is the thought that children are too young to be taught the ways of God yet they seem to never be too young  to adopt the ways portrayed in the media, memorize lyrics of foreign songs, and cartoon stories seem to be awakening them to the consciousness of evil more than of good. 

Hence what the proverb given to us really means is to dedicate, make submissive and hone the experiences of a child in the way they should go in the knowledge of the goodness and nature of God which then shall serve as their defining foundation. Parents, just as it pays off to read the alphabet and the numbers to your two year old, it is also possible to help them interact with scripture for what you are training is the spirit not just the mind. Paul says to his son in the faith Timothy: exercise yourself rather unto godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). There is nothing as trainable as the human spirit, especially if it is being exposed to the nature of its maker, who is Spirit himself (John 4:24). 

Building Upon The Foundation

And after He had dismissed the multitudes, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was still there alone. Matthew 14:23 AMPC

Many preachers and theologians arguably agree that Jesus being fully man, raised by human parents and familiar with our human experiences had things he learnt from his equally human parents Joseph and Mary. There is not much written in scripture of his early life before his teaching in the synagogue at age of twelve (Luke 2:41) and a silent period of eighteen years up to when his public ministry began but we are familiar with the story of him being a carpenter like his father Joseph was (Mark 6:3). As discussed in the paragraphs above, we may deduce that our Lord in his humanity may have frequently observed his parents carry a personal and collective prayer life which he constantly demonstrated by himself or with his disciples. 

Solomon tells us in Proverbs 24:3 that with wisdom a house is built, with understanding it is established and with knowledge its treasures are made available. As wise parents, after instilling a foundation of a God conscience, God is even more faithful to fasten your children’s understanding of the wisdom you have built and establish it as the ruling government of their lives. I have had the privilege of meeting children raised in sincerely christian homes with parents who truly preach by the way they live, who consciously or subconsciously pray while making a meal, cleaning the house, play worship around the house and say a grace before meals and their experiences are rich from observing these mundane tasks.

Every child is a seed (Genesis 22:18), and just as seeds are buried beneath the ground and the work done underneath is unseen by our naked eyes until the shoot and fruit sprout, so do these seemingly mundane tasks that involve and exalt God in your home do in the hearts of your children. It may seem as though they are not catching up fast enough, but give time some time, and keep at it for the Lord will make the treasures availed through this knowledge. 

If you have never given your life to Jesus Christ, and you feel that this is the perfect time, pray this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I thank you because you died for my sins and you were raised for my glory. Today, I receive you as my Lord and Savior. I am born again. Amen.”


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