"Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Too often this verse is taken to mean something like:
Spank my child like a perfectionist machine.. Make him eat all his vegetables and organics.. Make him comb his hair and sit in church quietly.. Discipline him in reformed manners and ways and when he's old he won't depart. Put him through a really hard classical Christian education. That'll do it.
Instead, I think we must read the verse like this:
Give 'em the good life. Show 'em heaven. Show them tenderness. Yes, bring the sting of spanking regularly and consistently. Hold them to a higher standard. Expect strict manners but in a spirit of humility from the heart. Shepherd them through a robust Christian education. Teach them to embrace hard things. How? By example.
But, train them up in the way they should go... Laughter. Family fun. Prayer with them. Stories. Feasting. Play. Time with dad. Time with mom. Dates. Discussing movies watched together. Vacations. Teaching them diligently from the Word to understand Him and the world.
They will not depart from a home like this.
And if God requires that church officers have these kind of children-faithful and believing (from the heart, we can deduce) then it is possible. Not just possible but commanded and blessed by His grace.
We need help.. And God will give it. Ask. believe. Obey.