I went to a slightly dated C of E teacher training college in Bishops Stortford, founded in 1850. It had an enormous stone fireplace in the dining room (by the sixties we did have central heating!) Carved across it was a quotation from the Bible. It read in Gothic script, “Train up a child in the way they should go” Proverbs 22:7
This had been amended in former years to read “Cram up a child in the way they should go”!
Not a good idea in any sense!

Training up children in the way they should go is not an easy task, especially in times of flux and change. War times, family crises, living with in-laws, or very differing siblings, in some stepfamilies, or where there are disabilities. This present period is like never before. But the training must go on.

As I have been walking round the fields and parks there are many children and parents about. It has been a great delight. This is a training ground as much as school they are missing. Greeting people, being polite as we pass, sharing with siblings, becoming aware of the wonderful natural world around. I see parents encouraging, reining them in (especially on bikes), teaching games, accompanying them on their walks. These are all part of training children in the way they should go. But of course the Proverbs verse also speaks of training in faith, of knowing Gods values and expectations.
These things are not apparent in a walk in the park, but I can pray for the children as I go, that they may come to know, and be trained – not crammed – in the love of God and in the way the truth and the life that Jesus taught us.

[Janet Lawrence]