I have really good kids. They are really well-behaved (most of the time) and even the times when they’re not are mild compared to what many parents face. I’m blessed to have kids that listen when I speak.
I remember when my son was little. He was in a kids track program. The coaches were lining the kids up to do a lap around the track as a cool down for practice. My son didn’t really know what was going on, so when the coach blew the whistle he just stood there.
“Run, son! Run!” I shouted over the other parents.
And he took off running.
As he was going around the track, another dad commented how quickly my son heard my voice and obeyed. I have to admit, I was a proud dad in that moment.
What Every Parent Wants
Every parent (or at least every good parent) wants their children to listen and obey when they tell them to run. As they grow, I want this attitude to translate into a watchfulness in my kids, like gazelles grazing on the Savannah. I want my kids to watch for danger all around them, be wary, and be ready to run.
But I won’t always be there to yell.
So how do I get my kids to run when they can’t hear my voice?
That’s every parent’s dilemma, isn’t it, how to prepare a kid for the inevitable struggles in life.
Entering the Grown-up World
Just last night we encountered this with our oldest. She was hired by our neighbors to care for their chickens for a couple days while they’re out of town. She walked next door yesterday evening, and there was a strange car in the driveway with a guy walking around.
My 11-year-old was a little nervous about it, but she went about her business. It was probably one of the neighbor’s older kids that didn’t go on the trip, but as my daughter stepped into the grown-up world, she was faced with fear and uncertainty and a dad that was too far away to yell instructions.
I Know the Feeling
I remember feeling scared and uncertain when I was her age. My dad would often forget to turn the lights off in the machine shed when he was done working. At night, there wasn’t a light between the house and the shed. So I would trudge off into the darkness of the farm to shut off the light.
It was frightening, but it was my home, it was familiar. There was nothing to fear. Not the ghosts I feared from watching Unsolved Mysteries and not the serial killers that were never caught. I knew my home was safe.
So I went about my business.
Then later, when I was older and closing the restaurant for the night, I would walk across the parking lot with the trash and wonder about the recent shootings in my town. I would think about the bullies I had at school.
But I went about my business.
What the Bible Says
The Bible is full of wisdom. It deals with the gamut of human experience and emotion, and it helps us figure out our place with God. The wisdom of the Bible isn’t “do this and this will always happen”. We know from experience there is no certainty of outcome. What the Bible does offer is principles, thoughts about life that distill the human experience down to when this happens, this is your best reaction or when you do this, this is generally the outcome.
So when I talk about the wisdom of the Bible, I’m not saying there is any certainty about the outcome. I only know that there are millions who have gone before me and attested to its wisdom.
Proverbs is a good place to start if you’re looking for wisdom. For this particular problem, how to get my kids to do what needs done even when I’m not around, I turned to Proverbs 3:21-26.
My child, do not let these escape from your sight: keep sound wisdom and prudence, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely and your foot will not stumble. If you sit down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the storm that strikes the wicked; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
When we keep wisdom close, there are benefits which flow naturally from it.
Benefit #1—Life for your soul
Do you want your kids to be alive, not just physically, not just flesh that breaths, but alive? I long for life for myself, but more than that I want those around me to feel more alive. I want to pass on a legacy to my kids, not just surviving in the world but thriving.
I want their breath to be cool and refreshing in the morning full of expectation.
I want their days to be full of joy, not busyness.
I want their heads to hit their pillows satisfied at the end of productive days, where they changed their lives and the lives of others around them.
Benefit #2—You will walk securely and peacefullyWisdom is skill in living well. Click To Tweet
When you live well, the Bible doesn’t promise you won’t have hardship. This passage doesn’t say you won’t have obstacles in your path. It only says you won’t stumble over them. It says that there will be fearful things, but they won’t have power over you. Let the storms overwhelm the wicked. A wise person has shelter with the Lord.
Our kids need to know how to walk in wisdom. Unfortunately, wisdom is gained from facing storms not from walking around in sunshine. We must teach our kids that when the storms do come, to go about their business and pursue the Lord wherever he goes. Only then will they have peaceful, secure steps for the path in front of them.
How do you teach your kids wisdom? Please comment below with your thoughts or feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org.