You may be familiar with this conversation:
Children: I deserve this! Parents: Okay, child. We support you all the way.
We used to think that "training up a child" has an immediate positive connotation. Apparently, there are two possible interpretations, both of which are applicable:
1. As a parent, you "train" up a child the way he should go - this is positive training. You teach, guide, and manage the child the standard to which they should go. 2. As a parent, you train up a child "the way he should go" - this is negative parenting. By supporting the child the "way he should go" is another way of saying that parents are okay of letting their child go their own way.
The first interpretation emphasizes the role of parents to actively train their children, whatever standard they may apply into. It may be through knowledge or experience. However, the Bible vividly says that parents must "bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." (Eph. 6:2) In this manner, children are guided to how they think and where they should go, that is, in the fear of the Lord.
The second interpretation emphasizes the passivity of parents to leave their children into their own way. Worse, it meant toleration without discernment of the parents. Examples of this interpretation are the following:
"Hayaan mo na yung bata, maiintindihan nya din yan paglaki niya." "Hayaan ko nalang ang karanasan ang magturo sa 'yo." "Bahala ka na sa buhay mo. Kung saan ka masaya, suportahan ka namin."
Of course, we cannot deny the truth that experience will make them learn something when they grow up. Leaving them to learn makes them realize something by themselves.
Yet, we must ask: What "way" does the child go when left on their own by their parents? The answer is mentioned in Proverbs 22:15: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of the child."
Here lies the problem: While parents are responsible for giving their children what they really deserve, parents are giving IN to their children what their children think they deserve.
Therefore, as a parent, which one should I apply to my child? Using the Proverbs 22:6 principle, you may:
Be an active parent. You may teach your child timeless truths about God, His creation, and Man. Teach them while they are young. Manage their behavior early by saying "No." and guide them to what is good and proper. And as your child progresses, you patiently correct wrong applications and shape the child into how Bible tells them who they must be - an image-bearer of God. Everything may be done by your hands and on your knees.
Be a passive parent. You may teach your child by not teaching them while they are young. You may be timid of saying "no" to your child, feeling that you might offend them. You let them explore their environment without direction. You leave your authority as a parent and choose to "befriend" your child because corrective discipline does not work anymore. And as your child progresses, you make them correct themselves without any faithful standard - just like an animal without dignity. Most of all, you may leave everything on your own, and to leave the child whatever way he should go.
Whatever you choose is an application of Proverbs 22:6 principle. Rest assured - when they are old, they will not depart from it.
After all, you are held accountable to the One who gave you such children.