Train Up A Child, Leave and Cleave
As I sit here contemplating the future of my two boys, who I think are now old enough to no longer be categorized as "young children", and who are reaching the age where they, too, are beginning to dream of what's to come beyond Mom and Dad's home, I can't help but put to "paper" the thought that keeps increasing in my mind and taking shape. At this stage in life, I spend a lot of time wondering about my husband's and my role in the next stage of our boys' lives and the Bible verses that keep coming to mind during this time of contemplation are Genesis 2:24 and Proverbs 22:6. These are a couple of what I call the "leave and cleave" and "train up" verses.
It's obvious to me that one of my most important roles as a mother, as a mother who is dedicated to raising her children in a Biblical way, is ensuring that I "train up" my boys in God's way, not man's. This means I must instill in my boys the proper way to think about growing up and getting out on their own. So, with this in mind, I'm going to share with you what it is I have come to believe very strongly is the proper, Biblical way to train children for adulthood.
I know full well that this is going to be considered a radical idea and it will certainly rub against the way our society is raising children, to include the Christian part of society. I know full well that nearly no one in recent years or decades has raised their children in the way I'm about ready to propose so it's going to sound ridiculous in the face of pop-culture and modern psychology. But that's ok, I'm pretty used to the idea of going against the grain, even the accepted Christian grain; so here's my idea.
I find it intriguing that the leave and cleave verse is given at the very beginning of God's Word, right there when God was setting everything up. Right after Adam finished naming all the animals, God gives him a wife and introduces to us the concept of leaving mother and father and cleaving to a wife. Now, Adam didn't have a mother, and he was "born" a full grown man. But God didn't give him very much time at all in the garden alone with God before Eve came into the picture. There was some alone time with God, just as our children are given some alone time with us. Eve was not made at the same time as Adam, she could have been, but she wasn't. This example tells me that God intends for children to spend time learning from parents...from parents...maturing and gaining wisdom before cleaving to a wife (or husband). There were no universities in the Garden of Eden, there was only God. Adam wasn't given a ton of peers in the Garden of Eden, there was only God. God could have very well created a city full of men right there in the beginning, but He didn't. He created Adam and spent time alone with Adam, and then He created Eve and gave her to Adam.
What am I getting at?
I'll just come out with it. I am under full conviction that the proper way to train up a child is to teach him or her that the FIRST step beyond living with Mom and Dad is marriage.
There you have it. Radical huh?
Yes, I'm fully committed to this idea. I don't see any good in sending young, hormonal people off into the world for the purpose of getting an education and desiring after riches (after all, isn't this why they desire education, so they can make good money as an adult?) without the sobering (and hormone relieving) influence (and support) of a spouse. What is waiting for our children in college but a cesspool of temptation to fornicate and rebel against God? And I'm not just talking about secular colleges either. This same temptation exists in Christian colleges and they, too, have a problem with fornication and rebellion.
"You're insane!" you say? "You're actually going to encourage your children to rush into marriage straight out of your home?" Well, everyone else is encouraging their children to rush into careers that eventually they will probably reject, are they not? How many kids go off and spend tens of thousands of dollars getting degrees that they never even use, only to end up working in restaurants, or some other entry-level "careers"? Maybe if a child is taught to continue living at home until he has found a wife, he'll be more interested in choosing carefully and he'll have far less opportunity to marry a woman he has spent years fornicating with, without the Godly commitment and covenant of Biblcal marriage. Is it really so wrong to teach my children that it's a good thing to leave the partnership of your parents and move straightway into a partnership with a wife? I don't think God intends for us to go through life alone (unless we're able to do so in celibacy, 1 Corinthians 7:1), so then why are we trying to teach our young people to do so? I can't think of one single instance in the Bible where children leave home to "sow their oats" for a number of years before seeking and marrying a spouse...at least not one instance that ended well. The prodigal son ran off seeking his fortunes and did he find a wife? No. Where did he eventually end up again? Right back home with Dad where he should have stayed all along until he was married.
Why do we have a verse that specifically talks about leaving home and immediately cleaving to a wife if we're not to take it seriously? Is this verse not to be included in the training up of our children? The verse does not say, leave your mother and father, go and get an education and start a career, and then after dating a few women, choose the one you like best and cleave to her. The verse is clear, leave mother and father and cleave to a wife. Period.
Can I use one verse to create a whole ideology? No, I guess I can't. But if there is an instance in God's word where children have left home, done everything BUT get married, and after much time eventually got married and had a blessed marriage, I can't think of it. If such an example exists, you're encouraged to share it with me. Until I can find in God's word where God allows for anything other than marriage straight out of Mom and Dad's house, I'm pretty married to the idea (see what I did there?) that my boys should be, first, looking for wives and then working towards an education and a career. Or, at worst, living at home while getting an education and while also looking for a wife.
My current pastor is of the opinion that children should go to Bible college and wait until graduation before marrying. As much as I respect his opinion on a number of topics, I completely reject this advice. There is too much temptation in college, there is too much opportunity to fall prey to lust and fornication. Get married before college or live at home while going is the teaching I see in my Bible. (I know the Bible doesn't talk about college education, but work with me here, you see where I'm going with this.) This seems to be the logical best-bet for avoiding the temptations presented in a faux adult world, where young people are trying to live as adults, but with the lusts of youth. The sobering reality of coming home to mom and dad every evening will help curb some of those youthful appetites. Having a wife/husband while going through college will alleviate every youthful appetite and offer a first lesson in real life education.
Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Is it possible that one of the reasons why so many children depart from the Christian beliefs of their parents once they leave home is because they were not taught this radical lesson about Biblical marrage? Oh sure, there are thousands of other contributing factors to children becoming wayward, but I wonder how many would stay on track if they found for themselves Godly husbands and wives straight out of Mom and Dad's home to live and grow with, to be accountable to, and to be able to extinguish the flames of youthful hormones with? Of course marriage would be a challenge for two young people with no real life experience. Sure it would be hard working together to receive formal education and living off of ramen noodles and Mom's care packages for the first five or ten years. Sure, if children came into the picture early on it would make things even more difficult. But is anything too hard for God? A marriage started on Biblical principles and between two people who have been taught from an early age to love God more than self and to obey His commandments; would these things really be that difficult to overcome? And oh think of the closeness such a couple would build experiencing all of these things together! Think of how strong that marriage would be once college was over and the careers started taking off!
I simply cannot allow myself to believe that the way our society has been doing it for the last 100 years or so is a better way, and the condition of our nation proves that it is not. So I'm dedicated to this radical plan. I'm at least dedicated to teaching it to my sons. Will they agree? Will they adhere? I have no idea. But I have my God and I have my prayers and if this is truly how God intends for children to be raised, I have full faith in His ability to bless my efforts to teach them His ways. Just as in soul winning I'm not responsible for the results of those I share the Gospel with, I'm also not responsible for what my children do with the things I teach them. But one thing's for sure, they're going to be taught the right way. And if they'd like to live here with me until God sends them good, Godly young women to marry, well then there will always be a bed available for them.
Is it no wonder that, as a society and in the dating world, we look down on young people who live at home? Don't you think Satan has cleverly orchestrated and fostered that mindest in us so as to degrade the institution of marriage and break down our families? I'd say he's done a mighty fine job of it too. I say it's time to undo his damage and teach our children to look at marriage as the first item to tackle as new adults. Leave mother and father and cleave unto a wife. If it's good enough for Adam and Eve who were created by the actual hands of God, it's good enough for my children.
I did say I was a peculiar Christian, didn't I?
Do you know, if you were to die today, whether or not you'll go to be with Christ after you die? Are you 100% and completely assured of your salvation? If not, please read my page on salvation today. There is nothing more important than giving your life to Christ and securing your place in eternity. I pray the Holy Spirit leads you to a personal relationship with Christ today, and I pray that you follow where the Holy Spirit leads you.