We moved to our new house three years ago. It is a two-story house, a first for our family. Soon after we moved, our oldest son threw his brother’s teddy bear over the stair railing, hitting my favorite lamp below. It shattered into a million pieces. I remember lecturing my son on the foolishness of his choices (and mourning my lamp).
Searching for Wisdom
This same son turns 13 at the end of the year, and the stakes related to wisdom and foolishness are much higher now. I honestly wish I could use one of those Magic 8 Balls to help my son make wise decisions—and to make them myself! Should my son have a smart phone? Shake, shake. Should he be allowed to be on social media? Shake, shake. Is it reasonable for him to sleep until noon on Saturdays? Shake, shake, shake. However, we all know that wisdom doesn’t come from the simple shaking of a toy ball.
As we face increasingly more questions, I am convinced that seeking wisdom and training our children in wisdom are two of the most important things that parents can do. I know I am not the first one to be convinced of this—the entire book of Proverbs is about a father imploring his son to seek wisdom! “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13-15). Wisdom is more important for our kids than excellent grades, athletic accomplishments, and good friends (man, I need to be reminded of this!) So how do we get wisdom as parents and then teach our children to do the same?
Source of Wisdom
1) We remember that godly wisdom is different from worldly wisdom.
Ruth Younts in “Get Wisdom” says “Wisdom helps you be more like Jesus in your actions, thoughts and attitudes, by loving God and loving your neighbor.” Godly wisdom has God as its purpose and center. My husband and I recently explained an unpopular decision we made to our son and discussed the difference between worldly wisdom and God’s wisdom. Godly wisdom is usually counter-cultural. It does not seek to please self or others. Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death,” while 12:15 says “The way of a fool seems right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Often, what is right or wise goes against what is popular or right in the eyes of the world. True wisdom looks to please God above all else. We have had multiple conversations with our children about how our desire to please the Lord with our lives may cause us to make decisions that are very different from those of their friends. Although these differences can be difficult for our kids, we are preparing them for a life of kingdom discipleship, looking at what God would have for them.
2) We seek wisdom by studying God’s word.
Psalm 19:7 says that “the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Want to be wise? Immerse yourself in the word. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:15-16). Godly wisdom does not manipulate God’s word and use it to justify what we want to happen; Godly wisdom allows the white-hot light of Scripture to expose our choices and decisions. It is the double-edged sword that penetrates between joint and marrow (Hebrews 4:12). This means we routinely spend time in the Word and ask God to use it to change our wants and desires to conform to His.
3) We seek Christ, the personification of the wisdom of God.
In my own pursuit of wisdom, I’ve been helped by remembering that wisdom isn’t merely an impersonal “thing” to be possessed or grasped; wisdom is ultimately found in a person, Jesus Christ. He is wisdom in the flesh. In John chapter 1, we read that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” In Colossians 2:2, Paul prays that the hearts of the Colossian believers “may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Want to have wisdom? Seek Christ! This means we don’t point to a set of rules to follow in order to be wise, but to Christ Himself, humbly walking with Him in confession and repentance and conforming to His ways. God is sovereignly working in our decisions to work out His will for our lives. This means the pressure is off, and we can remind our kids that God is at work and we can trust Him as we seek the wisdom of Christ.
Some days, I really do wish that the Magic Eight Ball would work for gaining wisdom— for telling me what to do when I am uncertain. But in truth, I know that true wisdom is only found in relationship with Christ and in immersing myself in God’s word. Only there will I find wisdom for myself and for my children.
About the Author:
Shea Patrick is a former Alabama lawyer, now SAHM living in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She and her pastor-hubby have four children, including two adopted from foster care. She serves as the Regional Advisor for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Shea loves live music, reading, and watching reruns of the Golden Girls and Designing Women. She loves her church, Trinity Presbyterian, and serves with the kids, music, missions, and women’s ministry.