Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. –Proverbs 22:6, KJV
Too many people understand this verse to be saying, “If you raise your child a certain way, he (or she) will follow that same path forever.”
First, we must remember that proverbs typically are generalized sayings, not prescriptive rules that are always 100% true.
This leads to the second point, that the truth in this passage is more subtle but still believed by most people today.
Maybe you have heard someone (including yourself!) say “I became my mom (or dad)!” Allthis means is that we find ourselves doing what our parents did, sometimes saying when we were younger “I’m never gonna do that!”
Thankfully, though my parents were far from perfect, I can take some pride in saying “I’ve become my dad.” Sometimes it is from doing some mannerism the same way he did. Many times I have stumbled across the wisdom of why he did certain things because I have to do them more regularly.
More often than not, this is what the verse is taking about, passing life’s wisdom on to the next generation.
Are we exactly like our parents in every way?
No. But we learn from them how we might live, which affects what we believe and how we act.
Sadly, it does not mean if we raise children to be Christains they will remain so. But I do have friends who have left the church, but they believe that Christian morality is good.
In this sense, they have “not depart[ed] from it.”
Remember, we are not responsible for the salvation of others, merely for guiding them to truth and godly living.