I don’t think you can go through ten years of Christian education without memorizing Proverbs 22:6:
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Well, today I saw that verse in action. We had lunch with a woman who has cared for and loved on my sister and brother-in-law for most of their almost 14 years of marriage. When my oldest nephew was born, she housed my parents, me and Jonathan and my grandfather so that we could all meet the first member of our family’s next generation.
Mrs. Ruby Taylor is 85 years old, and faithful to the word and her church body. This great-grandmother babysits for young mothers because she remembers what it is like to be young and on a budget. She attends ladies retreats and any service her church holds. When her neighbor had to be in the hospital with her son, Mrs. Taylor walked the neighbor daughter (and their poodle) to school every day for several weeks. In a time of life when many people step back and disengage, Mrs. Taylor is still going strong.
Sitting in her sunroom today, eating her home-made butter tarts and drinking coffee, I listened to her tell me of a recent bout of pneumonia. It had laid her on her back for more than a week over her 85th birthday. “The Lord really showed me,” said Mrs. Taylor, “how guilty I am of the sin of presumption. Here we had made all of these plans for my birthday and never once stopped to think ‘If the Lord wills it.’ ” She smiled and remarked that learning it was one thing, and applying it another. I was humbled.
And it struck me that what we are doing when we catechize our mackerdoodle and teach her scripture, and point her to the cross, is laying a foundation upon which her entire life will be built. Rather than looking, as I have been, at children five, ten or fifteen years older than her, I need to look to women like Mrs. Taylor, and ask the Lord to help us lay a foundation strong enough that when my mackerdoodle is 85 she will be unable to depart from it. In fact, I need to be seeking out more afternoons with women like Mrs. Taylor, so that my mackerdoodle can see in action the life results of the lessons we are trying to teach.
I pray that the Lord will give Jonathan and I the wisdom and grace to train our children in the way they should go, because I got to see today what it means to not depart from that. It is beautiful.