Every parent wants to raise “successful children.” The irony is that as important as success is to parents, very few of us actually know how to help our children achieve it. I know I didn’t and had to ask for help! Not only that, we are confused about what actual success is and are only aiming for the end results, missing the means by which to attain it.
Most people describe success as:
- Good education
- Good grades
- Good job
- Nice house
- Plenty of money
- Good health
- Happy marriage
That’s just to name a few. It’s a good list, and who wouldn’t want these things for his or her child? But these things are only some results of success. They are not in and of themselves the success.
Interestingly, the Bible spells out the secret to success and most of us parents completely miss it! The secret lies in Proverbs 3.
Proverbs 3:13-18, 21-26:
Blessed Is the One Who Finds Wisdom
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her (wisdom) is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.
She (wisdom) is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.
My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion,
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 lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
This passage contains the promises of Success (that may not even be here on earth, but eternally when we are in Christ):
- long life (Long life is in her right hand, …She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her)
- peace (Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace)
- favor with God and man
- blessing (Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,… and those who hold her fast are called blessed)
- abundance (She (wisdom) is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her)
- honor (in her left hand are riches and honor)
- safety (then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble)
- fearlessness ( for the Lord will be your confidence)
Now THAT’S a list that describes success!
Those are qualities that would most likely ensure the things on the first list. This is what our aim should be if we wish success for our children. (These are biblical principles and not guarantees, but biblical principles ultimately produce good results.)
And the secret?
Making Wisdom the Principal Thing for Success
Let’s be honest: we haven’t made wisdom “the principle thing” in bringing up children.
We have instead become worshipers of education, thinking that will lead to their success. Yet the Bible doesn’t mention education in the sense that we pursue. It only emphasizes the deep passion for pursing the wisdom of God. That, Scripture says, is the basis for life, and I submit the foundation for all other education.
“Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.” ~Proverbs 4:7
“The only way to defend our children is to know the Word for ourselves and teach it to our children. We can’t give our children what we don’t have. There is a war going on for the hearts and minds of our children. MUCH is at stake. Our enemy isn’t going to sit the next one out. He’s waiting like a stealthy lion for a generation to stop declaring the faithfulness of God to their children!” ~Heidi St. John, Prayers For the Battlefield
I am NOT advocating the rejection of all pursuits of knowledge besides Scripture. I am saying that all else is secondary and will, in fact, be enhanced by the pursuit of wisdom.
Think about the energy and effort we put into providing our children with a good education.
Yet, do we measure its merit by Scripture?
Do we apply the literal principles found in Scripture to our decisions about how they are educated?
If not, then we ourselves, are not pursuing wisdom, but rather avoiding what is written there for our guidance.
In short, we often don’t believe God, following what the culture around us says will lead them to success instead.
A Common Cliche
(I think of a common cliche as an example: “Your children need to be in worldly situations on a regular basis in order to learn how to deal with them.” But a careful study of God’s Word reveals just the opposite. Who are we getting our cues from?)
If we believed that the pursuit of wisdom was as important as the Bible says it is, and that became our aim for our children, how would our parenting look? How would their education look? How would their activities look?
If wisdom was our PRINCIPAL THING, what would we do to make sure our children GOT IT?
Let these simple truths become a check-list to consider growing in wisdom:
- Wisdom employs understanding, its not a feeling
- Wisdom doesn’t ever have to whine to get its way
- Wisdom carefully weighs the consequences of its actions
- Wisdom is captivated by God’s will, not its own desires
- Wisdom doesn’t allow compromise into its decision-making process
- Wisdom produces patience
- Wisdom results in joy, not regret
Major excerpts by Kelly over at Generation Cedar. She’s an oasis of wisdom and of encouragement – a reminder that you aren’t just cleaning a house and feeding hungry people. You are building the next generation, and that’s no small thing!
She and her husband happen to have 11 kids, all of them a gift of grace. I highly recommend her book When Motherhood Feels Too Hard: Daily Devotions for Moms, written out of desperation at a difficult time in her life.
Shared with written permission.
“My children are eternal souls. As important as academics and preparing them to be functioning adults is, it is far more important to prepare them for an eternity with God. If I don’t do that, it doesn’t matter how successful they will be when they’ve grown up.”
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Thanks for reading!