For most of my life I’ve thought of the book of Proverbs as a collection of “moral nuggets” – a buffet of sorts that has a verse for just about any situation in life.
Proverbs certainly has plenty of wisdom in it, but lately I’ve been looking at its overarching themes. That is, the “lesson behind the lessons.”
Moms and dads can learn a lot from Proverbs. Here are five themes that stick out to me:
1. Be a parent and not a “buddy” or “friend.” That is, a parent has God-given authority over their kids, a role that comes with enormous but wonderful responsibilities. The writer of Proverbs, Solomon, makes this obvious from the start: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Think about your best friends in high school. Did you ever give them “instruction” or “teach” them anything? No, you just had fun. Of course, I have lots of fun with my children. We laugh all the time. But even though I playfully call my two sons my “buddy,” my role is to be their father. Continue reading
Sometimes, the most humorous moments as a parent can be packed full of spiritual lessons.
For instance, recently my 19-month-old son stuck his hand in the toilet and was ready to lick his fingers, until I stopped him. He was as giddy as could be, giving me a big toothy smile. “No,” I told him, “You don’t play in the toilet. That’s icky.” But he was still grinning, ready to dive back in.
Weeks later, I placed him in a toddler swing, buckled him up, and proceeded gently to push him. He liked it for about half a second but began crying, and so I got him out. He then ran away from it.
I probably won’t ever forget that sequence of events: My son wanted that which could make him sick but rejected that which would bring him happiness. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably seen that sequence, too, in some form. Over and over.
I think God gives us situations like that to make us laugh, yes, but also to give us a picture of ourselves. After all, my youngest son is me. And you. Every day. Don’t we regularly want that which brings sickness and death (sin) and reject that which brings joy (God)?