Something cool I learned about Proverbs 22:6 -- the "train up a child" verse - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 09-12-2002, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This verse is misused by Christians to horrible ends, as an excuse to control, punish, and abuse children.

It says "Train up a child in the way he should go ,and even when he is old he will not depart from it."

Some of the moms here at MDC recommended this book "Families Where Grace is in Place" by Jeff VanVonderen. I read it recently, and learned a lot from it about this verse.

He says that a more accurate translation is "Train up a child according to his or her own way." Meaning that a child has individual way about him or herself, that should be respected and acknowledged by her parents in the way they approach raising her.

He also says that the word that the phrase "train up" was translated from is a word that midwives used to use regarding the way she interacted with a newborn baby. It refers to the way she massage the baby to stimulate his/her sucking reflex! Isn't that cool?

So the verse could be taken to mean "Stimulate a child's interests according to his or her own special way, and when they are old, they will not depart from it."

I love this! And I love that this is how our loving God would have us treat our children.
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#2 of 16 Old 09-12-2002, 02:33 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing that! I was raised by my preacher fvther who mis-interpreted everything he could in the Bible when it came to raising us! Were hit, humiliated, controlled with fear and shame! It breaks my heart to see parents who go this route!
One interpretation that is often askew is the 'spare the rod spoil the child' as an excuse for hitting a child. Whereas the rod was used by the shepherd to guide the sheep, not beat them into submission!!! Imagine that! Another one that i love so much is 'turn the other cheek' how many people have continued to be abused by this mis-interpreted verse? It doesn't mean poise yourself for the next blow! it means to turn away from the harm(evil) & towards Christ! there is a great book I love written many years ago by emmet fox called "the sermon on the mount'. He takes the lord's prayer(& other verses) sentence by sentence & writes whole paragraphs on each line! It is a truly inspiring book! I highly recommend it!
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#3 of 16 Old 09-12-2002, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mryhmaid - I will look that book up at Amazon and maybe add it to my very looooong wish list!

It never ceases to amaze me that when faced with choosing between opposing interpretations of a Biblical text, so many Christians will choose the most punitive, most controling, most unhealthy of the 2 options. Why do we do this? If we judged an interpretation by how well it conforms to to teachings of Jesus, we would choose what is forgiving, gentle, kind, responsible and healthy.

We ought to measure every value we choose against the standard of Love. We as Christians ought to ask, Does this belief/interpretation/action demonstrate love to my neighbor and to God? If not, we need to re-examine it!

Mryhmaid -- I am sorry for you, myself, and every child to whom my precious faith has been an excuse to inflict hurt.
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#4 of 16 Old 09-12-2002, 03:04 PM
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myrrhmaid: I'm so very sorry to hear about your upbringing - no child deserves that! I, too, was raised with much fear, self-hate, shame, etc. from Xianity in my family.

We have an interesting thread going on 'original sin' and whether kids are born with that (NOT) and how it relates to Xian parents spanking. You might want to check it out....or not! Don't want to open old wounds. I find it healing to discuss these issues now that I'm out of the fold, so to speak.

HUGS to you..

http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...t=original+sin
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#5 of 16 Old 09-12-2002, 03:21 PM
 
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Hi mamaduck & luvinlivin Thank you for your comfort & words of encouragement & direction. I did browse the original sin forum yesterday & read all the interesting things written there. I have been grappling with what I believe as far as that goes. ....: I think maybe this original sin stuff is what makes us feel self-hatred/shame. If i am to love my neighbor as myself & I think i am unworthy then what is my neighbor going to gain from me? If i am seething with self hatred, how am i to love my neighbor as myself- put them out of their misery too? We did a study that was called the 10 commandments from the backside-where there was no -thou shall not- but was- you shall....boy did i get some nasty emails from my fundamentally christian family! eeks... I thought it was beautiful. instead of you shall have no other gods....it was You shall love god with all of yourself...a permissive persuasion instead of the strong arm b.s that i don't respond well to.
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#6 of 16 Old 09-12-2002, 04:15 PM
 
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I really like that interpretaion of that verse, Mamaduck. It seems to me that is how Jesus would want His followers to interpret it and not to mean to ridicule, punish and hit like some beileve.

Mamaduck: I told some of the ladies on a spanking debate board I frequent about this book and his interpretation. Many are fundamental Christians like yourself but they agree with and use spanking. I hoped that they would like the interpretation as much as you and I did.

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#7 of 16 Old 09-13-2002, 01:12 AM
 
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A good take on that verse! Thanks for the book recommendation.

It is hard to be in the christian community and yet stand your ground on issues like gentle childraising and natural living. We have been labled as radical for our views.

You ladies and this forum are heling for me.

&
~b
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#8 of 16 Old 09-13-2002, 11:04 AM
 
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It seems tom me that where as the ideas were God's they were written by men. JUst becuase he said it one way does not mean that was the way the men interpreted it and wrote it down... Also, the original books were written in hebrew and had to be translated.... and translated.... and translated again... Everyone knows that the more you translate something the more you lose it's original meaning and flavor.

My parents have a minister who was Jewish growing up and because he can read hebrew/yiddish whatever, he has some every interesting things to say when it comes to the bible and it's original meanings...

I think too often we use the scripture to our own ends... (well perhaps not you, but the universal you...) I too do not understand how we are not to comitt violence against our "brethern", but we have no such issues when it comes to hitting or spanking a child...

I guess i am saying that I truly doubt most things in the bible that condone violence... I think it was either A) taken out of context, or B) mistranslated-perhaps on purpose to justify an end, or by accident.

Very interesting thread though... Thanks.. IT got my brain moving on this very early morning...

It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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#9 of 16 Old 09-13-2002, 01:12 PM
 
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What a great thread!

I agree with all the posters. An additional thought on "turn the other cheek..." I have also thought of Jesus turning the other cheek so as to face away from the one who is striking him. Turning away in defiance, maybe? Joseph Campbell has a very interesting commentary on some of these passages.

Oh, I remember where I read some of the better commentary -- The Complete Gospels, ed. Robert J. ******. Beautiful!

I have to admit, something that I have been turning to a lot recently is the phrase, "What would Jesus do?" when I am defending my childcare philosophies. I'll tell you what I know for sure, the Jesus I know would never hurt a child in any way, and He would have infinite patience!

Jean

Jean, happy HS mom to Peter (5), Daniel (9) and Lucie (2) and also someone new... baby.gif
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#10 of 16 Old 09-13-2002, 02:00 PM
 
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What an interesting thought on this translation. I'd always interpreted this in a spiritual sense not a physical sense. Meaning that if you give a child a Christian (or whatever) background growing up, a foundation if you will, then they will remain true to that foundation.

If you give them nothing, you get nothing. My dh and I have this conversation in relation to our kids because I'm religous and he's not. I want to raise our kids in my faith (because I have one) and he doesn't. He wants to let them choose something when they get old enough to do so.

However, I maintain that if you don't offer children some kind of religous background then they will grow up without any, like my dh, and I think that is poor parenting, IMO. And I might add that I'm applying this to my family only. I certainly don't consider others poor parents because they don't go to church or whatever so please don't flame me. I personally feel I would not be a complete parent without sharing my faith with my children but my dh doesn't quite get this.

Thanks for this different interpretation. I always find it interesting to see how different folks interpret the Bible in such different ways using the same words.
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#11 of 16 Old 09-13-2002, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mama2m&m -- I think it applies in a spiritual sense, since spirituality is something that all children need nurtured in themselves. But I think this alternate translation suggests that it be nurtured according to the child's own particular style of learning and knowing. And that as parents, we should be sensitive to our child's unique ways of maturing.

And I think that the verse is misused by Christians like the Ezzo's to preach that there is only ONE correct way to discipline and raise a Christian child. "Growing Kids God's Way" is one such program. Another is called "Train up a Child" and uses this verse to condone strict punishment to teach absolute obedience.
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#12 of 16 Old 09-13-2002, 03:25 PM
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In Hebrew the word for "train up" is "hannuk" or "dedicate"

BTW: yes, it's where the word, "Hannukah" came from...Hannukah is the feast of dedication (having rededicated the Temple after it was defiled by the Greeks)

But I digress....

If you read the verse that way there's none of the draconian Ezzoesque implications.

We are to dedicate our children "in the way they should go" and when they are old they should not stray from it.

This has a lot to do with our heart attitude toward our responsibility to involve ourselves in our children's lives *we* *dedicate* them in the way they should go.

There is *nothing* in the Bible to support draconian parenting.

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#13 of 16 Old 09-13-2002, 03:59 PM
 
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mamaduck - i totally agree. i am somewhat familiar with ezzo. but i just don't see how someone can read that verse and extrapolate that it's ok to hit your kids. i don't think strict obedience teaches much except how to not think for yourself and make appropriate decisions in life.

but again, i am quite interested in your posting and agree too that working with a child's particular style is important. I think that goes a long way in helping children succeed in life than trying to beat something out of them. My parents taught "spare the rod; spoil the child" so I try hard not to repeat. I feel so much better when we deal with our kids gently and teach them that there are better ways to do things than with violence.
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#14 of 16 Old 09-13-2002, 09:35 PM
 
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Yes mama2m&m, I agree that we must raise our children to think for themselves rather than to blindly obey authority, so that they can stand their ground with the Anti-Christ. (Whatever one's interpertation of the anti-Christ is, most will agree that in this society there are many things that our children will need to stand their ground on, rather then following the crowd into trouble.)

Children that are raised gently grow to be gentle people.


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#15 of 16 Old 09-14-2002, 04:27 PM
 
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So happy to have found this thread, I also posted on the "Where have all the christians gone?" thread concerning my husband and I being asked to participate in a pilot of "Prepartion for Toddlerhood"--an Ezzo class which our minister and his wife want to teach this fall. SO I have begun educating myself about Ezzo and I am often in direct conflict with the ideas presented therein. I am looking for sources which support a biblically minded peaceful approach to parenting, I look forward to checking into some of the books you all have mentioned. My husband and I know alot about child development and really feel much of Ezzo theory runs counter to what we know about how children think, learn and grow...as a joke now, whenever our almost four month old even thinks about crying (this is quite rare), we say "We KNOW you're just trying to manipulate your parents, buddy!" How could someone actually believe this about a small child who is learning to trust that his needs will be supplied? AND if I don't do this for him now, why should he later believe me when I say God will provide for him? The whole premise of crying it out is maddening! I hope the other couple in the class is ready for some debate on these issues, and the class leaders as well, for there is certain to be gnashing of teeth if they expect us to just follow this garbage...any ideas are most welcome, and if anyone has some positive reflections on attachment parenting in the Christian world I'm all ears! Sincerely, Wendy
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#16 of 16 Old 09-16-2002, 10:56 AM
 
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Wendy,
My experience has been that parents and pastors will respect your ap parenting because they will see the results of compassionate, loving, and respectful children. WE aren't seeing that in the "ezzo trained" children at our church.

Training up a child in the way he should go.....

Well, I don't want my child to grow up hitting and yelling, so I won't train him using those methods.

I do want my child to grow up loving and compassionate. Understanding of other people's needs and willing to sacrifice his own wants for the needs of others. So I will train him by being that kind of example for him to follow.

I have 3 grown children (as well as 4 "little ones") And from what I can see this method of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" has worked well. The verdict is still out on the "ezzo method" and "the Pearl's method" of training kids, but the from the ones I know, it isn't looking too good.

Christ set the example of how to treat all people, not just ones big enough to hit back!

&
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