June 10, 2020
"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child." (Proverbs 22:15a)
One of the manifestations of folly is failing to realize the consequences of actions or words, or failing to care. Folly lives in the moment and for the moment, but does not grasp the fact that this moment leads to other moments. One of the major challenges of parenting is helping our kids "connect the dots." As Proverbs says, they do not do this on their own.
Before the quarantine, a junior high student in Jacksonville, FL decided to take some pepper spray to school. What could go wrong with that? In this case, it wasn't just one kid who failed to "connect the dots." A classmate, spotting the spray, thought it was body spray, so he took it from the other kid's backpack and, as the principal said later, "[He] actually sprayed himself as if he were applying a body fragrance product." 41 students ended up in the hospital, though no one was in serious condition.
What if you made a video of this event, beginning with the decision of the first kid to take the pepper spray to school and ending it with EMTs taking kids out of a gym on stretchers and putting them into ambulances, waiting to wail their way to emergency rooms? Now, what if you edited the video down to just the opening and closing scenes? If you did that, you would have a contemporary version of Proverbs. Proverbs helps us connect the dots between in-the-moment decisions and long-term consequences. The first decision leads to all of these consequences. Is it worth it?
We teach our children to read, and that is good. But recognize that the most important book they could ever read is the Bible. If your child is able to read, I would encourage you to have them start reading a Proverb a day. Today is June 10, so, they would read Proverbs 10. I started this with my son, and while this kick-started his daily reading of God's Word, it also helped him to see the relationship between actions and consequences, and I believed it has served him well.
To all of us:
I read Proverbs on a regular basis. We all live in a world that works overtime on trying to convince us to live for the moment, but Proverbs reminds us that this moment is to be understood in view of THE moment when we stand before God.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." (Proverbs 9:10a)
Grace and peace,