Welcome to a special four-part series in time for Father’s Day! This post describes how fathers discipline sons. . .for their good!
Dr. Ron Allchin, D.Min., founder and executive director of BCC, wrote Growing in Wisdom: A Bible Study in Proverbs for Fathers and Sons, a book that makes a great Father’s Day gift. This excerpt reveals his insights and compassion for dads and young people.
You may purchase Dr. Allchin’s book in two formats: Kindle and paperback (8.5 by 11-inch workbook). Income from book sales benefit BCC’s work in counseling the hurting, training leaders, and developing new resources.
Teach Your Son to Choose Wisely
From the beginning of time, man was created with the ability to make choices. He was not made as a robot, programmed to perform the desires and will of his Creator. Man was made with a will to choose.
That means that he can decide whom he will love and obey and also whom he will not love or obey, as well as which instructions he will receive and which instructions he will reject. Man’s will is his to control.
To obey or to disobey is the choice each son has as he exercises his will. His obedient response to God’s instruction and discipline, and to that of his parents as well, is not something that can be programmed, predicted, or pressured into conformity. Every individual has to decide for himself what his response will be.
Proverbs 22:6 reads:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Some godly parents who have done everything humanly possible to “train up” their children have had one or more of their children rebel, disobey the parents’ instructions, and live the life of a fool. In contrast, there have been some ungodly parents who have had no concept of “training-up” their children, yet, their sons have matured, have become wise, and have been used of God to bring blessing to many. Each son chose to exercise his will against the training given by the parents.
The Train-Up Proverb: NO Guarantee
Sons need to know that many parents have struggled emotionally under guilt from this verse in Proverbs. This verse is not a promise but a general principle.
Those parents saw the verse as a promise and attempted to train up their children in the right paths only to find some of them departing from that path later in life. They know God’s Word is true.
Therefore, they concluded that they had failed in some way. They must have done something wrong. They hang their heads in embarrassment and shame looking for the mistakes. However, these parents might have done very little wrong. They may have been model parents whose son chose to reject his parents’ instructions and chose to follow the wrong path.
The Train-Up Proverb: A General Principle
This verse must be seen as a general principle and not as a promise. It is generally true.
As King Solomon looked upon life around him, he concluded that this is what generally happens when godly parents train up their children. But it is not a promise, or the outcome could always be guaranteed in spite of the will of the child.
Parent modeling and training are important. Children generally are a product of their parents.
However, they are not robots that will all “turn out” wise at the end of the assembly line if everything right is programmed into them along the way. Parent training must be a major factor in the son’s upbringing which will have its effect.
Generally, children with godly parent-models and godly training will be godly when they are old. Yet we are not to conclude that if a son turns out to be a fool the parents have failed. It may indicate that, but the son still had the choices to make.
Son, It’s Up to You
The conclusion of this matter is, “Sons, it is really up to you.”
If parents train you well, you still can obey or disobey. If your parents give you no training or even ungodly training, you can still obey or disobey. The choice is yours because God gave you the freedom to decide for yourself.
It is God’s will as well as your parents’ desire that you choose wisdom.
Father, discipline your son and hope for the best. You do your part. He does his. And, always, God is in control.
Why not get a copy of Growing in Wisdom for the dad in your life today? It makes a wonderful Father’s Day gift as well as an outstanding book for personal or small group study. Click here for Kindle and here for paperback.
About Dr. Allchin: Ron has been the Executive Director of BCC since its beginning in 1989. He holds his Doctorate of Ministries in Biblical Counseling from Westminster Seminary and is a Fellow and Board member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly NANC). He and his wife Sherry enjoy traveling to various mission locations and have had the opportunity to teach counseling in many foreign countries. They have three married adult children and seven grandchildren.