From Proverbs for Moms — by Rene Tyson–
You know what puts a smile on my face? Cute Cat Photos.
Seriously, what really makes me smile is when one of my kids say something profound. When they demonstrate wisdom or maturity beyond their years, my heart fills with pride and joy.
One time, my son’s friend was having trouble with his parents and my son’s advice to his friend that he should apologize to his folks.
At the time, that advice didn’t win any points with his friend, but now there is a trust being formed–where the friend knows that my son will speak truthfully to him (and vice-versa). It brought the biggest smile to my face and joy filled up my heart to hear my child discern the truth of the situation and not fall into the gossip trap, “Yeah, parents are idiots,” would have been so much easier to say. Doesn’t it fill your heart with pride and joy when your child speaks a truth? There is even an expression to capture the feeling of awe and wonder that we feel when a child speaks wisely–Out of the mouths of babes…
In Proverbs 23:15-16, the writer expresses joy when his kid demonstrates wisdom, “My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.” (NLT)
This portion of scripture is so very personal! We get to read this intimate note from a very wise father to his son and we get to learn HOW he raises his child to become wise himself! So? What does he tell the kid? I want my kiddos to grow into wise adults–so maybe I can tell them the same things?!
If you are wise and act rightly, your mother and I will rejoice.
Our author begins the conversation by letting his son know what will make him proud (Prov. 23:15-16). Children want to make their parents proud so it is super helpful if they know our expectations. The dad says that if you are wise, you will make me glad! Then, he goes on to explain the specifics of HOW to be wise (Prov. 23:17-23).
We must give our kids the tools to accomplish the things we expect.
- Don’t envy people who rebel against God, but moment by moment consider God’s authority and love for you. I love this. If my kids don’t envy naughty kids–but instead make their focus about what will please God, then the temptation to succumb to peer pressure lessens. Their decisions will tend to be based on what is right, rather then what will impress others. The result is a bright hope and future that is not cut short by following the wrong people.
- Ultimately, our children are responsible for the course of their lives. The author instructs his child, “Keep your heart on the right course.” It is not by chance or luck that our children will grow into wonderful human beings. Our children need to realize that they have responsibility over their own thought life. How they think and what they choose to think about will determine the course of their lives. They get to choose who they become by what course they set their hearts toward.
- Pay close attention to the friends you choose. If you choose people who party constantly or have no self-control, then you will become just like them–and their end is poverty and misery.
- Our children should expect to have a future relationship with us, their parents. The author tells his child to consider his words and his mother’s words and to be patient with his parents, even when they are old. We want our children to know that we will always be there for them and that we will sometimes have a deeper understanding simply because we have had more life experiences.
- Place a high value on truth and be humble enough to seek instruction. “Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.” (ESV) If our children seek truth, then they will be in a position to make wise decisions no matter the circumstances. My family’s motto is to operate through understanding. If I can help my kiddos to explore the various facets and perspectives when faced with small decisions, then as they grow, their habit will be to seek truth when faced with difficult decisions.
The author takes a break at this point to remind his child once again that parents who have wise children “Greatly Rejoice!” I once heard an older woman say, “Every one of my children is a disappointment to me.” What a horrible legacy! Wouldn’t we rather say, “I gave my children every possible tool to be loved and to love. My children know the source of wisdom and understanding.” Ultimately, the choice for how to live life will be up to our children, but it is my job as their mother to do everything within my power to foster a love for wisdom and a love for God.
Have you ever made a mistake more than once? Ha! I can remember many times thinking, Man! I thought I learned that lesson by now, but apparently I needed more practice! Learning wisdom takes time. Your kid may not get it the first 30 times you tell them–but you can guide them, as circumstances allow, into thought patterns that foster wisdom.
Are you up to the task?
It feels a little daunting to me. Later in the chapter, the author tells his son, “Follow my example…” YIKES! So apparently I need to practice wisdom as well?
Encouraging News: The Lord God promised to give you and me wisdom, if we ask Him. We have every tool at our disposal to raise wise children.
The deep joy that comes from watching my babies grow in wisdom and in love for God is one of my most precious gifts from the Lord. This is not a get-joy-quick gift. It takes time and patience, (mostly with ourselves), but I promise that it is one of the sweetest gifts available to you, if you decide to open it!
(Sky pic found at: thenewageofparents.com)