SOURCE: Taken from an article by D.A. Carson [April 3, 2014 post]
The proverb “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6) is so well known that it cries out for comment.
Recall that a proverb is neither case law nor unqualified promise (review meditation for March 22).
When children go wrong, very often the careful observer can spot familial reasons that have contributed to the rebellion. But this is not always the case.
Sometimes young people from evidently wonderful families kick the traces. Some return years later; some never do. Good families may produce prodigal sons.
This proverb must not be treated as if it were a promise that fails periodically. Rather, it is a proverb: it tells how God has structured reality, and what we should do to conform to it.
This is the principle of how families work; it includes no footnotes and mentions no exceptions.