Proverbs for Parenting
Proverbs for Parenting
There is certainly something unique about the book of Proverbs. Written by the wisest of men (someone smart enough to ask God for wisdom!), it is packed full of guidelines for life, in a point-by-point format. I’ve heard several suggestions for how to read and study Proverbs, such as a daily chapter-by-chapter approach, covering the whole book every month on an ongoing basis. A completely different method is to split out topics and themes, focusing insight into particular areas. Covering topics as diverse as marriage, greed, gossip, government, flattery, bribery, cruelty, vengeance, happiness, and many others, these sayings are vibrant and can serve to guide at any age.
Proverbs has much to say on fatherhood and parenting. Parents have a particular challenge: how to raise children from helpless infants, rear them through their formative years, and release them into adulthood equipped and ready. Where is a busy dad to even start? Here are a just a subset of the Proverbs that are age appropriate for 5-15 year olds and outline some fundamental principles to adopt in parenting and to teach/instill in your children. I’m cheating a little here, and condensing in part from a book with the same name as this post (by Barbara Decker, http://www.amazon.com/Proverbs-Parenting-Topical-Guide-Raising/dp/0961860855).
Obedience: Teaching obedience is one of the key principles of fatherhood, like it or not. A disobedient or disrespectful child is a rebel in training.
- Proverbs 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
- Proverbs 3:1-4 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
- Proverbs4:10Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.
- Proverbs4:13Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.
- Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
Correction: Discipline goes hand-in-glove with teaching obedience. There are many ways to skin a cat, but one of the most important ingredients is consistency. When you describe a consequence for unacceptable behavior, you have to deliver it. Being on the same page with your wife and having the same expectations is also vital.
- Proverbs10:17 Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
- Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.
- Proverbs 13: 18 Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
- Proverbs19:20Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
- Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.
- Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.
Anger: Frustration, aggression and anger are a hardwired component of the human condition. It’s how you manage these emotions that make the difference.
- Proverbs14:29Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
- Proverbs15:18A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
- Proverbs22:24Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered
- Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Diligence: In a world that increasingly awards meritocracy, diligence is a character trait that needs to be nurtured intentionally and will set your kids apart.
- Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
- Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
- Proverbs22:29Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.
Fear: Kids seem to be bombarded with fear from all sides in our modern culture, and we even go as far as creating situations with which to freak them out (eg movies and video games). Where does peace come from?
- Proverbs1:33but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
- Proverbs 3:25-26 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.
- Proverbs10:24What the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted
Pride: Self-confidence can be a healthy, stabilizing character trait, but pride is usually entirely self-serving and underlies many an issue.
- Proverbs8:13To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech
- Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
- Proverbs13:10Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
- Proverbs 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
- Proverbs 22:4 Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life
Selfishness: The golden rule that is to “do unto others as you would have them do to you” is the great antidote for selfishness.
- Proverbs 3:27-28 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you” – when you already have it with you.
- Proverbs 22:9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor
- Proverbs 22 The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them.
- Proverbs 28:27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.
Honesty and Lying: Often the flip-side of each other, these are bedrock issues that parents must shape with almost daily oversight
- Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
- Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity
- Proverbs12:19Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
- Proverbs16:13Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right.
- Proverbs12:22The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
Respect: Learning respect is a key principle that serves us our whole lives. A lesson learned in one area (respecting a sister’s toy at age 5), improves the chances of learning respect in another (the drinking laws and speed limit at age 18), and another (your employer at 21), and another (your wife at 26), and another….
- Proverbs20:20If someone curses their father or mother, their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.
- Proverbs15:20A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.