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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 29:15

"The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother"

It is foolishness that must be trained out of the child. Training in godly wisdom is the quickest and surest way to drive away foolishness. Remember, one is trying to train in looking for the everybody-wins choice. It is selfishness that must be trained out through the positive embrace of wisdom.

the rod and reproof give wisdom

It is clear that training is needed for every child. They cannot always hear “yes” from their parents or they will be worthless. They must have boundaries established and they must be corrected when they are doing something wrong. It is wise for them to know that not all the ways of doing something are right; that not all the choices possible are correct or even beneficial. They need strong training that cements this concept in their mind. The rod is physical action and reproof is verbal correction as well as natural consequences. The parents of a child or the boss of employees must supply these wisdom-giving devices.

but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother

The literal translation is a child left to himself shames his mother. Parents must not let the child's will and permissive theories shape their day. It is essential that children live within the box created by their parents’ boundaries. A child does not understand that a number of the impulses and ideas they have are selfish, destructive, and dishonoring and will ultimately produce loneliness, slavery, death, etc.

More and more of our culture is pushing to violate this verse and to let children have their own way, to hang with their friends only, to do what they want with all their time or large chunks of their day. We are often asking too often – “What do you want to do?” – instead of blending them into what the parents are doing.

We need to prepare a schedule for our children just as we prepare one for ourselves. They need to know that we care about every minute of their time. That we are watching.

There is a hint in the Scriptures that if we do not develop the understanding that parents are concerned about everything the children do and how they spend every minute of their time, then the children will not be able to contemplate that God does the same. They will live in a world in which they are really their own gods, and they are the only evaluators of whether a thing is good or bad – positive or negative. If parents do not cement the idea that there is judgment for everything we do, then the concept is gone and not a working part of a child's mental framework throughout life – or at least it is much more difficult to embrace this concept. This concept is really the fear of the Lord.

Remember that a fundamental idea in the heart of every wise person – according to the proverbs – is the fear of the Lord and the idea that God is evaluating every move we make. We have freedom to make choices, but every one of them is coming under the scrutiny of the Lord. And we will need to give an account of that choice, that action, and those words at the judgment. The great problem of our day is that we have no embrace of this concept, and we are becoming ruder and more selfish with each passing year as the memory of civilization fades. It used to be that civilization was where people embraced accountability and were able to treat each other with greater respect and dignity.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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