Topic: Proverbs 22:1 - 6
Being a father can be thought of as an "investment opportunity." The spiritual leader of the home pours instruction and discipline into his children so that they mature into men and women after God's heart. At a father's knee, a child learns the importance of confessing failure, serving humbly, and living according to scriptural principles.
Teaching requires that we back up our instruction with sound reasoning. It is easy to say, "I'm your father; do as I tell you, "but don't be fooled into thinking that giving orders is the same as training. Children need to understand why they are expected to behave in a certain way. Taking extra time to explain the reason behind a request or a punishment builds authentic respect for authority and develops a child's recognition of wrong and right.
Children will test the boundaries we set for them, often deliberately misbehaving just to learn what our reaction will be. They will also act obediently and then look to us for support and praise. From the time they are very young, we should train them to expect rewards for obedience and disciplinary consequences for disobedience. This is easily done by discussing the choices made by men and women in Scripture stories or by making an example of a child's daily actions - "You cleaned your room as soon as I asked, so now we have time to play some basketball."
Training takes time and involves a commitment to godly principles. The reward is well worth the investment in consistent instruction: children who will not depart from the Lord's way.