You need to teach your children to value wisdom.
What I mean is you need to teach your children to use their minds and think and you need to teach them to want to work at using their minds to think in a wise ways about their life.
Many of us have lazy minds. We don’t want to think hard. We would rather just watch television all day or play video games or something.
And I think that is why right after the writer of Proverbs talks about the fear of the Lord, in verse 8 of chapter 1 he says hear and it is amazing as you read through Proverbs how often he says that.
He says that over and over because he knows that children often have a hard time putting their minds to work at listening and so what he has to do is teach his children to do that.
You need to teach your children to engage their minds. You need to expect them to listen to truth and to think about truth. If you don’t, many of them won’t.
One way the writer of Proverbs does that is by reminding them constantly of the value of wisdom. The whole end of the first chapter is wisdom crying out and explaining the value of obtaining wisdom and also giving warnings as to what will happen if they don’t.
It’s not enough just to get your children to do the right things, you want them to learn to think the right way and so you want to keep holding out in front of them how precious wisdom and how dangerous it is to be foolish.
You need to lovingly challenge them to make being wise the greatest priority in their life. I think of how in the second chapter Solomon actually describes for his son how hard and how serious he should be about thinking in wise ways. He says make your ear attentive, incline your heart to understanding, call out for insight, raise your voice for understanding, seek it like silver.
It’s not just that you want your children to think, you want them to learn to think in wise ways, and what I am saying is that as a parent you need to step up and challenge your children to do that.
What am I talking about?
I am talking about working with your children to listen when the Scripture is being taught. Now when they are one or two or three, obviously that’s difficult, but you better start with them when they are that young and what you can do is just begin training them in the home when you have your family devotions.
We will sit down with our little children and I expect them to put their toys away and listen while we talk about God’s Word. Now I don’t expect them to listen for an hour and half sermon, but for five or ten minutes, you better believe it. And I check if they are listening by asking simple questions throughout and then when they are not listening I challenge them on the importance of listening and thinking by talking to them about the value of wisdom.
Then do what Solomon does, show them how to apply biblical truth to everyday situations in life. As you make decisions, don’t just make the decisions, talk to your children about why you made that decision, ask them questions about what they would have done differently and why.
Or if they are going to make their own decision or if they are struggling with something in their own life, don’t just tell them what to do or if they make a bad decision, don’t just shake your heads and say you are disappointed but take the time and begin working through with them why they did what they did, what was the result of that choice, where there error in thinking was, how they might have done things differently.
You say this is a lot of work. Yes, it is. But if you love your children you will pursue this with all you have got because the lifelong benefits of being wise far surpass the benefits of anything else you could ever give them.
Do you believe that? Can I just challenge you that if you are going to help your children think and think wisely, you need to work yourself at valuing wisdom. Please! If you are just going through life and not trying to apply the Scriptures to your own life, don’t expect that your children will, you are making life so much harder for them.
What’s more, can I just say this too? If you want your children to think and value wisdom, please, sometimes, turn the television off? If you just let your children sit there and watch television all the time you are literally training them to turn their brains off and you are allowing them to stuff their heads full of nonsense.
One more. Don’t just send your children to school and let them do their homework by themselves, but get involved, have times throughout the week where you ask them what they learned, where you work with them on their homework, where you help them sort through what’s happening at school.