Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. (Proverbs 22:6, NRSV)
As time has passed, translators have rendered this familiar verse in the English Bible in a variety of ways.
Familiar to many of us is the version found in the King James Version and the Revised Standard Version: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
"Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life" says The Good News Translation.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" states the New International Version.
Distinct from the others, The Message moves away from teaching to "pointing": "Point your kids in the right direction — when they're old they won't be lost" (The Message).
Train... teach... point. They are all English renditions for the Hebrew word, chenak. This word can be translated "to train" or "to dedicate." Even "to inaugurate" is a possibility.
So what might it mean for families and congregations to be in the ministry of training, teaching, and dedicating our children to grow up in and live out the faith today? This issue of Lutheran Partners addresses that challenge.
We will only be able to touch a few aspects of this many-faceted issue. We begin with a foundational piece written by Professor Marcia Bunge who underscores biblical and theological themes pertinent to raising children in the faith.
Linda Staats looks at the eminent place given to the mealtime as a place where faith can be passed on. Dawn Rundman examines how families and congregations can initially encourage faith life in our very youngest (she also offers a sidebar listing ten ways to encourage biblical literacy among older children).
Linda Kramme, of the Nebraska Synod staff, describes Operation IDEA, a program that helps young people listen to God's call for ministries in the church and world on Lutheran Partners Online.
Also online, Andy Arnold, a pastor from Montana who works with youth, offers technologically savvy advice for making the best use of the Internet for building relationships with and among youth while avoiding potential pitfalls.
Check out "Written on the Heart," as well as our media reviews for additional content on raising children in the faith.
|Prayer for Young Persons|
God of all good gifts, your Son gathered children into his arms and blessed them. Help us to understand our youth as they grow in years and in knowledge of your world. Give us compassion when they face temptations and experience failures. Teach us to encourage their search for truth and value in their lives. Help us to appreciate their ideals and sympathize with their frustrations; that with them we may look for a better world than either we or they have known; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 83)
Jesus, Justice and Jazz
For decades, large group youth gatherings of friends and peers have played a significant role in our church as it supports congregations and families in their childrens' faith lives.
In just a couple of weeks, New Orleans will be playing host to approximately 37,000 youth and adult leaders for the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering, aptly named "Jesus, Justice, Jazz."
According to the Web site, the Gathering will focus on service and justice, as well as worship, music, Bible study, service, learning, play, prayer, the witness of leaders from others nations, reflection, caring for others and new friendships.
Please pray for those attending. Check out the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering Web site and this issue's Book End.
James Mahler: In Memoriam
Teachers, in our public and private educational institutions, play a vital role in the raising of our children.
A dedicated Lutheran school educator, James Mahler, died on May 9, 2009.
Jim's support was impressive, stretching from his years as a student and teacher in Lutheran schools to his 25-year tenure at California Lutheran University in the education department. For 12 years, he contributed to the "Facets" column in Lutheran Partners in support of Lutheran school education. He was rostered as an associate in ministry.
In a dedication to Jim's life to be published in the Devotion Guide — 2009-2010, Mel Kieschnick wrote that the "cause of Lutheran schools seemed to be in [Jim's] DNA. He loved Jesus, and like Jesus, Jim loved kids. He felt deeply that they deserved only the best. Quality Christian education from preschool through graduate school deserved the finest that church and society have to offer." (This guide, published by ELCA Schools and Early Childhood Centers, will be posted online on or around August 10.)
Our prayers and condolences to the family and friends of James Mahler.
The Associated Church Press, which met in Indianapolis, Indiana, last May for their annual convention, honored Lutheran Partners with two awards for 2008: an Award of Excellence in the "Department" category for "Written on the Heart," co-edited by Stephanie Frey and Marcus Kunz; and an Honorable Mention in the category of "Publication Redesign" to Ann Rezny, our graphic designer.
Congratulations to Stephanie, Marcus, and Ann for work well done.
William Decker is editor of Lutheran Partners and Lutheran Partners Online, Chicago, Illinois.
This article appeared in the July / August 2009 issue of Lutheran Partners (vol. 25, no. 4).