There comes a point in every parent’s life when they realize that the time with their children is
Solomon knew this day would come so he made sure he took advantage of those times he had with his children. Yes I am sure he played with them, took them for chariot rides and, taught them how to throw a javelin etc. No doubt Solomon spent quality as well as quantity time with his kids. But as he did this it was with a view toward an end. He was preparing them to leave home. He was preparing them for life. He was preparing them for relationships.
What tools am I giving my children to build their lives on their own? Have I imparted to them wisdom for life? Have I taught them how to live a life pleasing to God, for the glory of God and the good of others?
Biblical wisdom has at its foundation the premise that real life begins with a right relationship with Jesus Christ and is daily lived in obedience to His Word. "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..."
How do we prepare our children to leave home? Many of the 31 chapters of Proverbs begin with the words " my son". This means Solomon knew it was not enough just to spend time with his kids, he needed to teach them. It is the teaching both in word and in life that will stay with with our children when they leave our homes. Solomon knew it was important to teach his children the principles of wisdom, or wise living. He knew the value of making wise decisions. Sadly, later in his life he would also learn the heartbreak and consequences of unwise decisions.
The last five verses of Proverbs 4 give us some wonderful guidelines to teach our children as they prepare to go out and live life on their own..
Proverbs 4:23-27 Keep your heart with all vigilance ,for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet ;then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
Each of these four or five principles could have many sub points under them
1. Keep your heart with all vigilance ,for from it flow the springs of life. Son, guard your heart – what ever controls your heart, your will, your passions, your values, your worship, will ultimately control your life and consequently determine the kind of life you will have. To paraphrase – We all have a master, i.e. someone or something that sits on the throne of our hearts calling the shots; therefore choose your master carefully.
2. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Learn the value of telling the truth. Put a guard over your month. How we are doing with guarding our hearts will be evident in how we use our tongue. Many a young person has had their life set on fire because they could not control their tongues leading to angry outbursts, gossip, backbiting and lying.
3. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Pay attention to your life and not everyone else’s. How important is this in our day and age. Tweets, messaging, Facebook, have all made young people addicted to what is going on in everyone’s life. Solomon is exhorting his son to stay focused, don’t’ get sidetracked.
4. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. Ponder the path of your feet, where are you headed. If you keep on this path where is it going to lead you. Son THINK. Watch where you’re going. No one plans to fail, no one plans to have an unhappy marriage, no one plans to end up addicted to drugs or alcohol. It happens with no thought what so ever. So to avoid those things learn to think, ponder your path, consider seriously the outcome of your choices. Stay true to the truth of God’s word and do not waver.
Solomon knew these simple yet profound principles would mean the difference between a life lived abundantly to the glory and of God and the good of others or a life of heartbreak and loss.
What are we as parents teaching our children, both in our words and our actions about how to live life.? What are we teaching them about what is important? These principles apply not only to children but to parents as well.
God gives us kids not to fill a need in our lives but to fill a vast need in the child’s life. That need is for biblical wisdom, discipline and instruction.
So moms and dads, ponder the path of your parenting, guard your heart in your parenting, stay focused in your parenting. Who are you listening to when it comes to your parenting practices? God says our children “can be taught”. God says our children need to be taught. God gave them to us “to train them up in the way they should go…”
Parenting. . .
…is teaching them to listen
…is teaching them to learn
…is preparing them to leave
…is preparing them to live
…is preparing them for LIFE.