Most would likely agree that the most important aspects of parenting is the proper education of the children. Education takes on a much bigger role than just getting the children on the school bus and making sure they’ve done their homework. Education involves spiritual matters, critical thinking training, common sense, practicality, discernment, and still much more. I like to roll all of the knowledge gathered in a good education up into a single word: wisdom. Wisdom, by definition, it a quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement. I believe experience, knowledge, and good judgement is developed within the process of educating our children.
So, how do we insure that we properly instill wisdom in our children? Well, like many times before, I turn to the Bible to give me advice on such questions. I can find countless passages that guide me in specific ways to “train up a child”, but there is this one passage in Deuteronomy that provides some guiding principles about how to apply the specifics found in other passages.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 has this to say to us.
Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the heavens are above the earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your fathers.
The first part of this scripture tells us to imprint and bind the teachings of the Bible on our hearts, minds, hands, and foreheads. Surely you can see the committment to the subject matter at hand. I don’t want to demean the significance of what is being taught here, but it’s kind of like getting a tattoo. You’d better be completely committed before you permanently make such a mark. Likewise, we must be completely committed to wisdom and we must be completely committed to instilling wisdom into our children. It doesn’t matter if the wisdom being imparted is of a spiritual matter, it could be reading, writing, and arithmatic, you still must make a committment to your own deep knowledge and then a committment to the time and energy needed to teach your children.
Next we see a need to be constant in the education of our children. There is very little time that isn’t covered by when you go to bed at night, when you get up in the morning, when you are in your house, and when you are away from your house. This not only tells us that every single moment is a teachable moment, but it adds the emphasis needed to make us aware that we must be intentional about every teachable moment. It may be that you understand conceptually that every moment is a teachable moment, but if you aren’t intentional to recognize the lesson that can be taught in that moment and you aren’t intentional about sharing the lesson with your children then it is an opportunity lost.
Now we come to consistency. The admonishment to write the teachings on your doorpost and on your gate suggest that you remain consistent in what you are teaching. For example, you can’t teach your children a lesson on integrity and honesty and later that day lie to the watress about their age in order to get a kids’ meal. Write honest and integrity on your doorpost and gate for all the world (including your children) to see. Your consistency will ensure that your children aren’t confused about how to apply the lessons being taught.
Finally we get to celebrate the wisdom we are instilling in our children. This is equally as important as the other aspects in that celebrating the wins of wisdom allows us (and children) to recognize the fruits of our labors. Acknowledge the success or the benefits of making wise choices, even celebrate them. Remember every moment is a teachable moment, therefore it is important to teach your children that great things are a direct result of putting into the practice the wisdom being taught.
How are you working to instill wisdom in your children? Share your lessons learned with the rest of us.