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November 4, 2013

`Ideally, as I get this project truly on-track, what you’ll see are focal passages chosen in this manner: day of the month (1,2,3, etc.) gives us the verse; number of the month (January=1, February=2, etc.) gives us the verse. What to do with November and December? Either play catch-up or make sure we haven’t missed anything in the overall sweep of the passage.

 

So, today we look at Proverbs 4. Let’s consider the whole chapter here: we open with the imperative to “Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father.” From there, we read a collection of verse that stress the importance of finding and growing in wisdom.

 

Let’s look at two key points:

 

The first is the father’s recognition of his own shortfalls. He sees the need to instruct his sons in life, but recognizes that they need wisdom and understanding beyond what he can simply teach them. Parents, keep this in mind, your children need more than they can learn from you.

 

And yes, we homeschool our kids and still believe that. How? What do you think those 50+ boxes of books are that we haul around every time we move? Just to support a new chiropractor? Additionally, we work to involve our children in other opportunities, but they learn from many people. And they are not limited to the textbooks that had the best bulk price available, either.

 

So, parents, teach your children what you know, but help them connect to and grow by learning from others.

 

That extends to this idea as well: if you are a teacher, mentor, or pastor, guess what? The people that you are the primary influencer of? They need others, too. Don’t be the sole source.

 

The second point, though, is a bit of a counterpoint: the sons are to learn through their father, including listening to his introductions of wisdom. I would take in to account Proverbs 1:8 where the mother’s teaching is also commended, so count this as parental wisdom: God-honoring parents ought to be the center-point of their children’s learning. Who has God placed, consistently, in the life of a child to help them learn and grow? The parents—parents that fail to even try, in any way at all, to be sources of wisdom and spiritual guidance, are shirking that God-given responsibility.

 

Parents are not specifically responsible for the outcome: unless you are negligent, the goal is to train up a free, prepared individual to stand before God responsible for himself.

 

Those of us who work to aid parents should never consider replacing parents who are doing their best to be God-honoring. It is not for you to step between a Godly mother and her children, just because you think you can do it better. If you are invited to assist, then do so—that’s another matter. But otherwise, we should allow parents to do what they are God-commanded to do: teach their children.

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