If there is a secret to it, I’m afraid I will not find it here. As I’ve mentioned before, most translations will not translate this verse correctly, but the CSB nails it. Showing a child the way he should go will not guarantee that he will never stray. Sorry parents. It takes a little more effort than that. This verse actually says that every child has their own way, and it is up to you to discover it, because they will not depart from their way even when they are adults.
So what is this way this verse talks about? You might notice that your children are different, and interact with the world differently. Some kids respond to authority well. Others do not. Some kids develop a strong sense of justice. Others don’t care. As a parent, it is your duty to both discover this bent, but also to develop it. Stubborn kids will be stubborn adults. This is hard to deal with when they are young, but taught well, and with good life lessons, that stubbornness becomes determination. Adherence to authority as children become adults who will follow every authority. So those children need to be taught about the highest authority, God Himself, to learn to apply God’s authority in this world. You will find them strong defenders of what’s right and wrong in this world.
Other children are harder to figure out. You work with them, spend time with them to discover their bent, and as they grow, you have the great privilege to shape and transform them into citizens and believers in Jesus Christ, Lord willing.
Lord help me each and every day to learn from my kids, and teach them the right path, so that in their own way, they discover who You are. Thank You Jesus. In Your Name I pray, Amen.