I have heard the old proverb..."Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV)
However, I was recently reminded, the extreme importance of this proverb.
When I was sitting outside and finishing my lunch in a shopping center area, I saw the mother of a little girl wanting to take a photo of her young daughter by a huge water fountain nearby. In and of itself, it seemed harmless.
Then, I got to thinking that the mother was exploiting her own daughter. As I watched them together, it made me feel sick. The mother, perhaps unknowingly or unintentionally, was training her child to "look pretty for the camera". It reminded me of this world's ways. This world views females as the weaker sex and exploits them in the media and advertising…treating them like a piece of flesh. Instead of thinking what it could be doing to her daughter, the mother was just thinking of what she wanted at the time. It was not something good for the little girl and her overall well-being either.
I continued to watch the mother and young daughter together. The little girl appeared to begin getting into the short “photo shoot”. All of a sudden, she seemingly appeared to hike up her foot and knee in a model-type pose. I could not believe it! She looked like that she was only about 5 years old!
It somewhat reminded me of little Jon Benet Ramsay who was thrust into the media spotlight after her tragic death many years ago now. After her death, photos and video portrayed made-up little Jon Benet to look like a little woman. However, she was only a little girl in a lot of make-up modeling in beauty pageants.
What had this little girl in front of the large water fountain been taught? What had she been learning? Where did she learn it?
My guess is that she learned that type of behavior or pose from society...from this world's view of females...even at a very young age! With all of the suggestive-type marketing and advertising in magazines and on television, unfortunately, all girls...especially young impressionable ones...become accustomed to seeing it. They begin to think that kind of behavior is acceptable. They, in turn, learn to mimic the same type of behavior that they see as well.
Here is an example...
Have you ever played with a baby or a small toddler? What do they do? Every time, you say or do something, they try to say or do it too. At the time, you may think that it is cute or funny. However, every time you laugh at it, you are just perpetuating it. In turn, they learn to think that it is cute or funny. If there are no consequences for their behavior, they start believing that it is acceptable behavior...whether it is or is not.
It is very important to "Train a child in the way he should go..." (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV) Take it one step further, and train up a child in the way she should not go as well! Condemn the action, behavior, or sin that is not in-line with God's view of your daughter. Make sure that you do not condemn the child but the behavior. There is a difference.
You want your child to know God’s love and your love for her. At the same time, you want her to know the acceptable behavior as well. You do this by teaching your child God's view of her and His ways...not this world's view and its ways.
Get in God's word! Renew your mind! (See Romans 12:2) Learn His ways and His views of you and your daughter! Then train your child in the way she should go, and when she is old she will not turn from it. (See Proverbs 22:6)
Copyright 2010 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.