When our kids were growing up, I hit upon the idea of teaching each of them out of the book of Proverbs in the Bible.
I started first with my son, then with his two sisters as they hit the ages of around eight to ten. It worked very well for us.
Here are a few of the verses we discussed that seemed to help a lot.
• 3:35 The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.
There is a famous story of a football player (“Wrong Way” Riegels) who ran the football the wrong way, towards the other team’s goal. His mistake made him famous. We can do the same thing. Our shame can make us well known; it can promote us. Some do foolish things and hope to escape the shame that follows. Others go for being wise and cannot escape the words “Well done!”
• 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction (KJV).
Be careful what we say. Even though we don’t live in a time when the king could cut off our heads for saying something bad, there is still danger out there when we speak without thinking first.
• 17:2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself (KJV).
When I was in college we studied psychology. Some of it was fine. Being aware of our inner feelings is helpful. But endless introspection, always searching for how I feel about things, is foolish.
• 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression (KJV).
To forgive an insult or to choose to overlook some wrong done to me is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it often does us great credit when we do so.
• 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise (KJV).
Both of my parents came from homes where drinking was a major problem. This verse is very good at bringing up the subject of alcoholism and how it can fool us into thinking it’s cool when it’s not.
• 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished (KJV).
“Well, I think it means that a wise person tries to plan ahead and foresee any danger before it comes up and hits them on the nose.”
The beauty of that verse is in it’s being so short. This only took a few minutes just before bedtime and yet it was a great thing to say.
• 22:13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets (KJV).
The lazy always have some excuse for not getting out of the house and getting something done.
Here’s another one. This occurred when I was talking to one of my daughters when she was 13 years old:
• 23:1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: 2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. 3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat. (KJV)
I ask, “So do you know what that means?”
“No” she says.
“Well, I think it means that if you are a young person, be on your guard when powerful people want to do you favors. If someone like this has you out for a meal, and you can’t refuse to eat, order from the middle of the menu while trying to find out what they are after. That dinner may not be free. They may say you owe them something when you are done that you don’t know about yet.
She says,’“But I don’t have anything anyone would want.”
“Sweetheart,” says I, “... let’s talk about dating.”
• 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls (KJV).
Picture the Philistines marching along, robbing and burning cities as they go. Just before noon they see this one city and it has no walls!
“We can take this city and still have time for lunch,” they say, “but who in his right mind would build a city without walls? Anyone can take over that one.”
So is the person who has no self-control. They will have to be controlled by someone or something else. This is a great verse to talk to kids about the dangers of being an addict, whether it is drugs, liquor or something else. If there is no self- control, there is no defense.
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