Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wise Instruction

"Do not forsake [wisdom], and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you... Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown."
Proverbs 4:6, 8-9
It hit me as I was reading in Proverbs this morning that the Scriptures not only have a lot to say about wisdom, but they also contain wisdom on how to teach it. This is of course not news, but today I began to really notice how the Proverbs are loaded with admonitions toward the pursuit of wisdom because of the blessings it brings.

As I raise my children, I find I often have the tendency to warn against foolishness by highlighting the potential harms and dangers that come with forsaking wisdom.
"You have to stay by Mommy, because you could get lost in this store..."
"You need to learn to be kind, because children don't like to play with a selfish boy..."
"You have to eat your food or you won't grow big and strong..."

Now, while there's nothing wrong with this method, and it, too, is sprinkled throughout the Proverbs, it is not the primary method of teaching found in this book.
The Proverbs encourage wisdom by showing the blessings you attain by seeking it.
Wisdom will keep you safe, give you length of days, will bless you, and give you a place of honor. Wisdom will be like a beautiful crown upon your head, and all you have to do is seek it.
Wisdom cries out in the streets; all you have to do is listen for her voice, and you will be blessed.

Perhaps a change in technique is in order.
"If you stay by Mommy, you will be safe from danger."
"If you learn to be kind, you will have lots of friends and much more fun."
"If you eat your food, your belly will be full and happy, and your body will grow big and strong."

Simple semantics can sometimes make all the difference.

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