A Fetching Cat
(Proverbs 22:6 KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
This scripture does not suggest that we train our children up in the way they should go…it instructs us to train them up in the way they should go. It also does not suggest that our children may not depart from their training when they are old...it emphatically says they would not depart from their training when they are old.
Over the years I have watched many things vanish that my generation thought were of great value. Among those things were “respect” and “honor.” For all practical purposes it appears that “respect” and “honor” has gone the way of the dinosaur, or at least it is at an all-time low.
There was a time when parents not only believed every word of our text, but they followed it to the letter of the law because they knew what the outcome would be. That being the case, one would have to conclude that the problem with the lack of “honor” and “respect” today is not the result of wayward children, it is the result of wayward parents.
The question is, “When did this begin?” I think I know when this problem surfaced, but I am not sure when this problem actually began. The independent, rebellious, no respect plague that surfaced back in the 60s apparently was the result of the previous generation. This plague was then spread by the lawless, drug infested, free sex, flower child generation of the 60s that was up for the job. This generation has also been accused of starting this spiraling decline of morals and disrespect, but I am not sure they did…they just spread it. However, in spite of what we may think of the 60s generation, it seems that many of them actually turned out fine and are wonderful citizens today.
The problem is not what the 60s crowd actually did at the time. It is more about what they have produced. The generation they produced seems to be hopelessly dishonoring and disrespectful to everyone and everything. The reason for that…the 60s crowd was so free spirited themselves that they failed to teach the principle found in our text to their own children. No child is born with the wisdom of how to do things right…they have to be taught.
Recently, while I was in England I stayed with a couple that had a gray Burmese cat. The cat’s name was Solomon and the owners trained this cat to play fetch like a dog! They would wad a piece of paper into a ball and throw it, and the cat would run, fetch it, and bring it back and drop it at their feet so they could throw it again. They even taught this cat to run up the stairs and get the ball of paper and bring it to the edge of the stairs and drop it on the floor, then push it down the stairs with its foot.
My intention is not to minimize the seriousness of the first part of this Meditation by telling a cat story. Nor am I trying to compare cats to children, I am simply wanting to compare training to no training. The point I am trying to make is this; if one can train a cat to fetch a paper ball then surely we do not actually believe that our children can learn without some measure of training. We may not train them to fetch a paper ball, but we must train them to honor and respect others…by doing so we can be assured of the results.
Help us to “train up our children in the way they should go: so when they are old, they will not depart from it.”