Bamboo is about the most versatile plant imaginable. It is used for medicine, food, textiles, paper, musical instruments and construction. In the Chinese culture, the bamboo is a symbol for a gentleman. This is because it is strong, upright, perseverant and open hearted.
It is a very fast-growing plant and lends itself to all kinds of ornamental uses. Bamboo can be trained to take different shapes. It can be trained to take the form of a square when bundled tightly that way. It can be trained to take the form of an arch when keeping it bent.
Our verse for today is also about training. As parents we are to train our children in the way they ought to go. Children do not always know what that way should be. They do not see their own weaknesses nor do they always understand their own strengths. The encouragement and feedback from parents have a huge influence on choices made.
There are some who take this verse to mean that good Christian training in the home will automatically produce Christian children. This idea produces an unbearable weight of guilt for many whose children are not believers. Proverbs in Scripture are not promises but principles. In the end, it is the responsibility of each individual to make that decision for Christ independently of their parents. There is truth in the saying, “God has children, not grandchildren.”
Bamboo and children grow so quickly. Encouraging the natural and unique bent of each child is such an awesome privilege. May our lives and influence do even more. May it give them every advantage and opportunity for choosing Jesus!