Wisdom is at the heart of being able to live life that enables you to serve God, others, and remain as healthy and functional as possible in this broken world.
Proverbs 1:1-6 says…
“The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, kind of Israel:
for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior;
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
We’ll never know the answers to everything nor do we need to. There’s a place for trusting God through the unknowns. However, I believe we can attempt to live wisely, prudently, and with common sense in a way that blesses our families and others while enabling us to reach out to the broken and lost in the world. If your own life is a big mess you simply won’t be able to do as much for others as you’d like. You won’t have the mental or emotional capacity.
I think – and hope and pray – we can raise our children with God’s wisdom so they are able to “live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (Prov. 1)
1. Ask for wisdom.
James 1:15 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” The more wisdom we have the more we can pass on to future generations. We can teach our children to pray for wisdom and guidance, and for good old-fashioned common sense. Am I the only one who thinks common sense isn’t as common as it used to be? I made this little handy dandy graphic just for fun and I have no idea what a horse has to do with it. Anyway…
2. Take the aerial view.
I heard a teacher give an illustration once about God’s view, and it has stuck with me. On earth, we have a limited perspective on what’s happening around us. It’s as though we are in a car driving north. We have a view outside our windows. That is, if they aren’t dirty, fogged, and the weather isn’t bad. We can only see as far as the landscape allows, and that is entirely out of our control. We can’t see what’s over the next hill, behind the mountain to the east, or how fast anyone else is traveling around us.
God is like the pilot of a helicopter. He has an aerial view. He can see how the road curves, if there are accidents ahead, where detours should be taken, and what lies at the destination ahead.
As much as possible, we should teach our children (and ourselves) how to take the aerial view when making decisions. It isn’t about what’s right in front of us. It’s more long-term than that. We should help children determine, where possible, what lies east, west, north, or south. This and the counsel of God – who has the ultimate aerial view – will help you make the best decision possible. Then we must trust God.
3. Don’t think for them.
Some personality types (cough cough) find it hard to wait for others to think when they already have an answer. Luckily, I have long established in my heart the desire for my children to have common sense and wisdom. When the urge takes over now, I’m pretty good at sitting back and letting them think. Ask leading questions, give a few scenarios, help open up the topic at hand so they are able to get a clear view.
Of course my oldest is not yet 4 so I’m not talking rocket science or career choice decisions. But even choices about clothes, what to play, what order to do things, etc. You can never start them too young using their own noggin.
4. Don’t mask consequences.
One of the worst things – in my loud but humble opinion – we can do for our children is to mask consequences. If they don’t understand cause and effect how in the world do we expect them to make good decisions? We train and teach, and then give them a chance to put it into action. Preventing children from experiencing consequences of their actions is not protecting, it’s crippling it’s training. It’s not preparing, it’s sheltering.
5. Introduce them to spiritual truths and principles early on.
God’s Word is chock full of spiritual principles. Cause and effect scenarios. Words to the wise and warnings to the wayward. Much of what’s in the Bible is considered common sense generally speaking. You don’t take what isn’t yours. You don’t work, you don’t eat. You don’t engage in behaviors that hurt others and yourself. By introducing children to God’s principles, not just the stories, you’ll help open their hearts and minds to embrace ways of life that will benefit them for eternity.