Train Up A Child

Gene H. Miller

 “Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime; and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Few people have greater influence in our lives than our parents. Their lives, more than their words, leave lasting impressions in our hearts.

 Godly Parents. The Apostle Paul admonished, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). He repeated that admonition in his letter to the church in Colosse. (Colossians 3:21).

 A Christian Home. Being raised in a Christian home does not make one a Christian, but it sure helps. Timothy became a great gospel preacher, largely because, from a child, he was taught the Holy Scriptures by a godly mother and grandmother. (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). The home is our first classroom. The lessons we learn there go with us throughout 


 An Ornament Of Grace. Solomon gave recognition to the valuable influence of godly parents. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” (Proverbs 1:8-9). “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

 The Power Of Example. Both my father, Gale Miller, and my late mother, Ruth, taught elementary school. I guess that is one reason my two sisters, my brother, and I all got degrees in elementary education. In addition to teaching, Dad preached for various small congregations. I do not recall his ever encouraging me with words to preach, but his example had a great influence in my decision.

 The Love Of Singing. During the years I was growing up, we did not have TV, so quite often in the evenings we would gather to sing gospel songs. Daddy sang bass, Mama sang alto, my two sisters sang lead, and "me and little brother would join right in there" on the tenor. Dad taught us the parts, and taught us to read shaped notes. He promised that, if we would learn our part, he would buy each of us our own personal songbook, which he did: Albert E. Brumley’s Book of Sacred Songs. There were 97 songs in the book, and we learned most of them. I still have my book, and it brings back many pleasant memories.

 A United Front. Dad and Mom never argued or raised their voices to one another in front of us. Now that I am older, I know that married couples do not always agree on everything. I am sure they had their differences, but we did not know about it. If either one said, “No,” there was no need of going to the other. That united front added stability to our home.

 Trust And Obey. I learned at a very early age it was always best to do what Dad said. I did not always see things the way he did, but, through the years, I find myself coming around to his way of thinking more and more. That attitude carried over into my spiritual life as well. I do not always understand my Heavenly Father’s will for my life, but I know it is best to “trust and obey,” and, with time, I have come to see He always knows what is best for me.

 A Positive Outlook. The church at Shock seemed to me to be an ideal congregation when I was growing up. I never heard of any disagreements or problems. As I grew older, I learned about some differences of opinion – not on any doctrinal matters, but, sometimes, in matters of expediency. Even Christians do not always see everything eye to eye. My parents never talked about church problems in front of us, so I grew up with a very positive outlook on the church, elders, and preachers. I sometimes wonder if part of the reason so many young people leave the church today is because the church, the preacher, and/or the elders are being constantly put down at home.

 Not Forsaking The Assembly. It was never a question in our home whether or not we were going to attend any service of the church. I do not ever remember Dad and Mom telling us we had to go, it was just something we did. Whether it was Sunday night service, mid-week Bible study, or a two-week gospel meeting, if the doors were open, we were there. I must have been sixteen or eighteen years old before I realized you could “forsake the assembling” of the saints. I always thought you had to be deathly ill before you could miss. I am pleased that this has been passed on to my three children and their families who are all very active in their congregations.

 A Christian Home. I thought little about it then, but, looking back, I understand more clearly what a blessing it is to have been reared in a Christian home. How much better this world would be if every home were truly Christian!

 “Only a dad but he gives his all, To smooth the way for his children small, Doing with courage stern and grim The deeds that his father did for him. This is the line that for him I pen: Only a dad, but the best of men.” Edgar Guest. -3281 Rosedale Road, Shock, WV 26638-8410. 304 462-0384

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