God's wisdom is seen in His stressing the importance of instilling in children the truths of His Word at an early age (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:4-7). The man will be as the child is trained. By exposing children to a large quantity of Bible teachings in their early years, we can be instrumental in programming their 'mental computers' so that they know the mind of God and think as He does.
Truth is as much the natural staff of life for the soul as bread is for the body. The soul cannot be strong and healthy without it. Ignorance is the starvation of the soul; error is its poison; truth is its food and healing medicine. The very highest truths are those which should be imparted at the earliest possible period in a child's history. It is important that as soon as a child's mind can admit the thought, it should be taught concerning Him who made it and all things, and who rules in heaven and on earth. You may train a fruit-tree by tying them to a railing; but the tree whose branches have nothing to lean on but air is not trained at all (Proverbs 29:15). It is a question between the Bible as a standard, and no standard at all.
Much of what parents are able to teach children is what is 'caught' rather than 'taught.' Children are far less influenced by precept than by example. Our character is a stream, a river flowing down upon our children hour by hour. What we do here and there to carry an opposing influence is, at best, only a ripple that we make on the surface of the stream; it reveals the sweep of the current, nothing more. If we expect our children to go with the ripple instead of the stream, we shall be disappointed.
Example teaches without a tongue. Precept may point the way, but example carries us along. The common saying of 'Do as I say, not as I do,' is usually reversed in the actual experience of life. All persons are more apt to learn through the eye rather than the ear, and whatever is seen makes a deeper impression than what is read or heard.
Whatever children see they unconsciously imitate. Thus it is important that parents set a good example for their children; that grandparents set a good example for their grandchildren. They must live near to God. The influence of a parent or grandparent on the child should make it 'easier to be holy than to be sinful, to do good than to do evil, to sacrifice than to enjoy.' Solomon said, 'The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness' (Proverbs 16:31). What you are, he will be.
Some do not get better with age; they get worse. Some begin to murmur and complain (cf. Philippians 2:14). They tend to exaggerate their problems and minimize their blessings. Someone said, 'The older a man gets, the farther he had to walk to school as a boy.' At the funeral of a man prominent in the community, I overheard some elderly women talking about the deceased. 'It's really too bad about him,' one said. 'He had the same thing I've got, only mine's a lot worse.' We should try to avoid this attitude, for it will not set the right example for the next generation. The road to success is always under construction, but a gray-headed Christian is something worth imitating.