I”d like to call your attention to the book of “Proverbs,” one of the books of Wisdom. It is designed as a teaching tool that gives quick, clear instruction in how to live in the best possible way. When you know how to use this tool, you have just what you need if you keep it handy. And, of course, you never grow too old yourself for another glance at a wise lifestyle.
USING THE TOOL
Don’t try to grasp the main idea of “Proverbs” or to even read a whole chapter at a time to get the context. “Proverbs” is different from “Corinthians” or “Joshua.” It is intended for clear, simple instruction so it is broken down into principles that stand alone. Sometimes several proverbs center around the same subject, but I think it is still easier to apply if we take them one-by-one. What you want to do is to understand what the particular proverb means and then apply it to whatever you (or your children) are going through at the current time. For instance,
“He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame” (Proverbs 10:9).
Proverbs is filled with observations like this from farming or animals or creation in general. So the images are always around us…even if we live in the city. The meaning of this proverb goes something like this. If it is the end of summer where you live, you probably have some fruit or vegetable that is ripe. I just finished harvesting the largest mango crop of my life. I had to get up with the sun in order to get the mangoes before the birds and squirrels bit into them. Sleeping in would have meant the loss of what I had waited for all year. It is plain good judgment to gather in what you have grown. It is not anything to brag about if you lose your crop. You look foolish.
Now to the important par, the application. Lead your teen to look at themselves to see if they are bringing shame on themselves by their desire to sleep in. What kind of habit are they forming? You could just shout it out with an “I told you this all along and now look, it is right here in the Bible!” But, what you want to teach is the thinking process of seeing the wisdom in this proverb and a need for changing a habit or avoiding developing a habit of resisting work. Don’t forget to apply it to yourself. Perhaps you don’t grow anything. What is the principle here? Maybe your crop is your children. Are you just counting the days until they are eighteen and, hopefully, out of the house? Instead, it might be more prudent to use these last two-three years to pull together all you have taught them. It could mean that you get up early to think about a proverb for the day so you could pass it on to them as they run out the door.
Now you pick out a proverb from chapter 10 and think it through like this. Remember, the secret is in finding out what it means and then applying it to whatever your circumstances or attitudes are right now. Then you will have used this tool the right way .
A good habit would be to pick out one proverb a week and think about it like this all week.