Candy and chips for dinner

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I recently learned that on an evening when my husband and I were out, one of my children offered a friend candy and chips for dinner.

Nice.

Let’s just say that this friend’s parents weren’t exactly thrilled, shall we?

There is something that I learned early on in my parenting that I think more parents should know:  my kids are a bad influence on your kids.

I know, it’s a little shocking, but it’s true.

But here’s the really shocking part:  your kids are a bad influence on mine, too.

Proverbs is clear – kids are fools.   Proverbs 22:15 says so:  Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child…

Children, left to their own devices, will lead other kids down bad roads.  They will help them make poor choices.  They will give really bad advice, and they will not learn to put another’s best interest first for quite some time.

If you think about it, that’s kind of what parenting is really all about – teaching our kids to be wise and discerning adults.  We teach them the Word and we use tools like work and consequences and rewards – but in the end, we want our children to grow up to be wise adults who know and love God and their neighbors – right?

We don’t want them to be fools forever.  After all, fools don’t produce anything positive and they don’t get on very well in life, do they?  Proverbs describes the difference in life for the fool compared to life for the wise pretty well – here are a few examples:

The naïve inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge – Proverbs 14:18

Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight – Proverbs 15:21

Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly – Proverbs 17:12

And this one from the book of Ecclesiastes is especially descriptive:

Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor.  A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left.  Even when the fool walks along the road his sense is lacking, and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool.

Being called a fool is not a compliment.  It’s not funny.  It’s not “honest mistakes”.  It’s a preference to go the wrong way.  A lack of discernment or discretion.  It’s our depravity on display.

And yet, foolishness is bound in the hearts of our children.

It is hard work to remove it from them, but Prov 22:15 concludes that the rod of discipline will do the job.  Discipline, wise counsel, talking of these things as we lie down and get up, and sit and walk along the way – it all takes time.  Lots and lots and lots of time.  Kids are fools for a while.

So in the mean time, if my children offer yours junk food, or suggest they watch a stupid TV show, or a stupid You-Tube video or read twaddle or light matches where they shouldn’t or tell inappropriate jokes…. (you get the picture)…

Please remember that my children are fools.  Use the encounter with folly to teach your children not be foolish and I will endeavor to do the same.

But between us parents, let’s help and encourage each other in our task.  Let’s build each other up and continue to spur one another on to love and good deeds.  Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due season we shall reap a good harvest if we do not grow weary.  And in the mean time, let’s try hard to remember to, “Be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another even as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you.”

And while you’re working hard to do all that, my prayer for you is this, may “the Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”

Amen.

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