Many people start the New Year making resolutions on how they want to improve themselves over the next twelve months. Unfortunately, many these plans have various levels of success as the year goes by. God has laid out the ultimate self-improvement plan in the Book of Proverbs. Why not start the month of January reading through the Book of Proverbs together as a family and discuss the valuable wisdom God has for us? The Book of Proverbs has 31 chapters so read one chapter a day and your family will learn God’s wisdom on how to keep your other New Year’s resolutions.
Proverbs opens with Solomon’s own description of what the book is about.
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The wisdom found in the book is for all ages and the different stages of life making a great exercise for the whole family. Proverbs are principles of living the right way and general descriptions of life’s realities; not sure-fire promises or guarantees. Parents can prepare their children to impact the world even at a young age. Proverbs 22:6 says “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Our natural instinct and primary duty while they are young is to protect them. But just as important, we must prepare them to face the risky, even dangerous, situations that life inevitably presents.
Parents can find a healthy balance by working to develop three interrelated qualities in their children. First, parents should raise their children to desire wisdom. What parent would not want his or her child to follow Solomon’s example and ask God for wisdom above wealth and honor (1 Kings 3:6-9)? The pursuit of wisdom will help children stay out of harms way and equip them with the skills needed for effective leadership in any calling.
Second, parents need to teach their children how to distinguish between right and wrong. Moral discernment and wisdom complement each other. Solomon joined them together in his prayer for wisdom: “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:9)
Finally, parents should look for opportunities to vest maturing children with significant responsibilities that impact other people. This is one way to put into practice the stewardship principle found in Matthew 25:23: “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”
Content adapted from the NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible and the NIV Quest Study Bible.