“Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.” Proverbs 4:13
We’ve been talking about wise parenting by looking at the life and teachings of Solomon. Today, we see that Solomon urged his children not only to hear his instructions, but to take hold of them personally. The course of every person’s life is determined by whether or not God’s instructions are accepted and guarded. In order to consistently make wise choices, children have to take hold of Scriptural truth for themselves.
In Proverbs 4:10-19, Solomon describes two choices in life: the path of the righteous and the path of the wicked. He’s desperately trying to direct his children to the upright path by instructing them in wisdom. Solomon clearly teaches that accepting and guarding wisdom leads to righteousness. There’s also a sobering reality in this passage. While rejecting wise teaching might begin with foolish behavior, it eventually leads to wickedness.
Throughout this chapter, we see the responsibility of godly parents to instruct, direct, and lead their children. But no matter how well we do those things, our kids choose whether or not they’ll heed our instructions. Ultimately, the choices they make in life are up to them. That’s why teaching kids how to make God-honoring decisions is an important part of wise parenting. The earlier in life we allow them to make age-appropriate decisions, the better they’ll become at making wise choices.
Think about it, avoiding evil looks different for a first grader than for a kid in high school. The consequences of unwise decisions get worse as kids grow older. First, set clear boundaries. Then allow more decision-making privileges each year, along with the responsibilities and expectations that go with each choice. Finally, talk through the results of unwise choices while the consequences are less severe than later in life. And remember to give plenty of praise when they make the right choice on their own.
As a parent, where have you let down your guard? Starting today, determine to guide and instruct your children biblically, so they learn the benefits of wise choices. No one ends up on the path of righteousness by accident. Each of us must choose to accept godly wisdom and to guard it carefully. Wise kids make wise choices.