It’s a familiar scene: Your child disobeys, disregards your instruction, and finds himself in trouble. Incredulous at their lack of discernment and foolishness, you sit him down and deliver a passionate, heartfelt lecture that is meant to persuade him toward obedience in the future and to respect your authority in the matter. You get blank stares and distant acknowledgement and wonder: Do they hear our counsel? Do they listen to instruction?
And while those words of urging are needed, we sometimes make the lecture the punishment — the consequence that must be endured — rather than the instruction to receive.
We reduce instruction to a sprint-like lecture rather than marathon tutoring.
You see, lectures are one-sided deliveries. They are power-packed with information and require the listener to take notes, because the test is coming. But tutoring is another thing entirely. With its back and forth, question and answer, one step forward – two steps back — tutoring is a progressive journey that invites conversation and demonstrates in action.
Tutors guide and direct; they are unwilling to go on to the next level until mastery is reached at the foundation:
Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future. – Proverbs 19:20
The tone found in the Proverbs is the tone of faithful correction and counsel. But I — a weary mother so often bent on satisfying my momentary need for peace and all to be right with the world — often choose to give counsel and correction with impatience, disappointment, and an expectation of immediate mastery. I forget that motherhood is a marathon and not a sprint.
Could it be that the wisdom and instruction we so long for our children to receive really begins with us, considering how God instructs us? How he meets us in our sinful waywardness and rebellion, and firmly and lovingly directs our hearts to truth? His instruction and counsel is sweet because He teaches us according to His character.
Friends, let us be pliable under the instruction and counsel of the Word of God, ourselves, that we might gain wisdom in the marathon of instructing and leading our children to a true and living knowledge of God.
Because of grace,