Have you considered the value of the Proverbs lately? If you are a parent of young children you are probably deep in the stories of scriptures, and that is the best place to be. Young children thrive on imagination and God’s stories feed it with the best food available. But as our children mature they begin to think more and ask harder questions. We should still keep the story of scripture always before them, but now they are learning to see the principles and the imperatives of scripture and we MUST make the most of the opportunity. This is when their world view is really beginning to take shape, and this is when we must teach them discernment.
If there is a picture that comes close to showing the state of the modern mind, it would be a house without doors. Come and go as you please. Everyone and everything is welcome. The only people not welcome are those who tell you what you ought to believe. If the result of eating the forbidden fruit in the garden was to know both good and evil then the progression of that condition is to decide for one’s self what is evil and what is good. Nothing but rigorous gospel parenting and the Spirit of God will cure this condition, and there are great resources for this to be found in the Proverbs.
Consider the growing hopes we have for our children as they get older. We want them to learn the art of living and not always rely on us for what to believe and how to act. We want them to grow in taking responsibility for themselves. We want them to chose good friends and make good choices about how they interact with the opposite sex. The list could go on, but I will wager that however long it is there will be proverbs to address them. The stated purpose at the beginning of the book is, “To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth.” What follows that opening thought is 31 chapters of God’s instructions on how to live wisely from youth to old age, for men and women, boys and girls.
Instead of choosing a succulent example from the proverbs upon which to chew, let me instead give you a big picture challenge. First of all, keep reading the stories of scripture. If you don’t regularly read the gospels and old testament stories as a family start now and don’t stop. Talk about how those stories help you understand your story. Next, start working through the proverbs. With 31 chapters and a month having on average the same number of days, it makes easy work to read a chapter each day. You don’t even have to remember what chapter you are in, just look at the date.
As you go, take note of the themes that Solomon and the other writers cover. You will find a lot that is immediately relevant to the situations and decisions both you and your children are facing. Take the ones that grab you and memorize them together. When you find an oft repeated topic ask why and discuss it. There is no end to the discussion you can have, and the best discussions are those that take the truth of specific proverbs and apply it to a specific situation that your child is in the middle of. Could you possibly give them better?