Train up a child
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - June 28, 2020 - 12:00am

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This famous verse from the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, written by the wise King Solomon, has had many interpretations.

Taught in Sunday schools and preached in church, people often use this verse to guarantee that if you raise your children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), they will always stay on the right path. Brent Rinehart says, “That interpretation can be problematic, particularly for the “good parents” I know who have seen their older children stray from the faith. We all know that we can try our best, and sometimes the results are different than we would have hoped. God has given us free will to make our own choices, after all.”

But a fascinating insight can be gleaned from another view. Some bible scholars interpret this as something of the exact opposite that it is not a guarantee for parents, but rather a warning. Dr. Douglas Stuart from Gordon Theological Seminary and citing many notable scholars believe that the difference comes from the addition of the word “should” in the English translations, which is not supported in the original Hebrew. Without the “should” the nature of the verse changes. It’s more about allowing your children to go their own way, not the way they “should” go. In this view, the reading would be more like “Train up a child in his own way, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” That certainly changes things.1

Dave Miller from SBC Voices says it this way: “This is not a promise to parents who raise their children properly but a warning to those who allow their adolescents to grow up without guidance, who raise them to go their own way.” Children left to their own way are not likely to change; they will become adults who go their own way… the wrong way. Interestingly, Solomon wrote later in Proverbs 22:15 that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.” He obviously recognized that children do not tend to make wise choices on their own.

My good friend James Matti sent me an article.2 There was a very brilliant boy; he always scored 100 percent in science. He got selected for IIT Madras and scored excellent in IIT, went to the University of California for MBA. Later on, got a high paying job in America and settled there. Married a beautiful Tamil girl, bought a five-room big house and luxury cars. He had everything that makes him successful, but a few years ago, he committed suicide after shooting his wife and children. The question here is “What went wrong?” California Institute of Clinical Psychology studied his case and found “what went wrong?” The researcher met the boy’s friends and family and found that he lost his job due to America’s economic crisis and had to sit without a job for a long time. After even reducing his previous salary amount, he didn’t get any job. Then his house installment broke, and he and his family lost the home. They survived a few months with less money, and then he and his wife together decided to commit suicide. He first shot his wife and children and then shot himself. The case concluded that the man was “programmed” for success, but he was not trained for handling failures.

Now let’s come to the actual question. “What are the habits of highly successful people?” First of all, I want to tell you that if you have achieved everything, there is a chance to lose everything, nobody knows when the next economic crisis will hit the world (as what is happening today). The best success habit is getting trained for handling failures. I want to request every parent; please not only program your child to be “successful” but teach them how to handle failures and teach them proper lessons about life. Learning high-level science and math will help them clear competitive exams, but knowledge about life will help them face every problem. Teach them about how money works instead of teaching them to work for money. Help them find their passion because these degrees will not help them in the next economic crisis, and we don’t know when the next crisis will hit the world.

And then the article closes by saying: “Success is a lousy teacher. Failure teaches you more.” We are in the season of extreme challenges, and it is the best time to teach kids the value of living godly living, handling adversities, and building resilience. There is no better time than this.

(Bring your family, attend and take part in a live webinar via Zoom this July 8-9, “Raising Future Leaders - Values, Virtues and Attitude with Chinkee Tan, Nove Tan and Francis Kong as they present winning ideas on Money Management, Online Education and Life Skills for Success. For further inquiries or registration email: or contact April at 0928-559-1798 or Abby at 0917-533-6817.)

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