home   message board   testimonials   order the book  

The Book

Underlying Principles

Teaching Obedience

Emotional Issues

With Character in Mind

The Parent's Part


Other Materials

Specific Problems

Your First Love

Family Commentaries

Elizabeth's Fun Stuff

Book Reviews

Favorite Books and Links

Your First LoveProverbs Parenting
I used to think that there was very little in the Bible about parenting, but now I see all of scripture as a parenting handbook. Here are some of my meditations as I read the book of Proverbs with a view toward how I should parent:

CHAPTER 1  (New American Standard Version is used throughout).

1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding,
3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity;
4 To give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion,

Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. He was given this wisdom as a great blessing from God (His heavenly Father). He wrote the book of Proverbs in order to share this wisdom with those under his authority and responsibility (just as our children are under our authority and responsibility). Should we not attempt to follow his example to share our God-given wisdom with our own children? Here are some of the things Solomon wanted to teach his people:

1. wisdom
2. instruction
3. how to discern sayings of understanding
4. How to receive instruction in:
5. Wise behavior,
6. righteousness,
7. justice and equity.
8. how to be prudent if you are naive (what child is not naive?)
9. how to give knowledge to youths
10. How to teach youths to be discreet.

Seems like a good start if we need ideas on what things we should be teaching our children.

5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

When your child argues with you do you back down? Do you let him have his own opinion as long as he obeys you? Or do you stop and take the time to bring him around to a full understanding of the importance of having a hearing and learning attitude, so that he can become of an adult of wisdom and understanding?

6 To understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.

Instead of just "telling" your child how to think all the time, try asking him thought provoking questions. For example: "Tommy, do you think it's okay to lie? Why not? What do you think other people will think of you if they find out that you have lied to them? Will they be able to believe you after that? How will you feel inside?".....

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Ah, that bad word "fear"! So many parents are afraid of that word. They don't want to discipline their child because they don't want their children to "fear" them. Yet God disciplines us. And God even says that fear of the Lord (our authority) is the beginning of wisdom. Perhaps if our children have a healthy fear (respect) for us, they will be more willing to listen when we attempt to impart wisdom to them.

8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and do not forsake your mother's teaching;
9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head, and ornaments about your neck.

So simple. Children are to learn from their parents, so let us, as parents, have something to teach them. Let our teaching be continuous and good always, for we don't know when they will be listening. Let our teaching be worthy of being called a "graceful wreath" or an "ornament about the neck". Let it be above the ordinary, special, and beautiful.

10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
11 If they say, "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, let us ambush the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, even whole, as those who go down to the pit;
13 We shall find all {kinds} of precious wealth, we shall fill our houses with spoil;
14 Throw in your lot with us, we shall all have one purse,"
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path,

Now here is a lecture I frequently give to my children in various forms when they are going to be any distance away from me. "What should you say if someone asks you to do something I told you not to do?" "What if they tell you how much fun it will be?" "What if they tell you they'll do it too?" Now usually my kids are not left unsupervised with other children, but this can even happen at home. Sometimes I hear: "But mom, my brother told me to do it." That's when I bring up this verse and remind them of what they should do when ANYONE tells them to do something they think is wrong. (I tell them to say no and come and get me if possible).

16 For their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed blood.
17 Indeed, it is useless to spread the net in the eyes of any bird;
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush their own lives.
19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; it takes away the life of its possessors.

While lecturing your child about how to resist enticement by others, it is important to point out to them how those who do wrong (disobey their parents and/or God) will always suffer for it in the end. They may get away with it for awhile, but in the end they will be punished.

20 Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square;
21 At the head of the noisy {streets} she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city, she utters her sayings:

A lot of people want to be wise, but don't know where to find wisdom. Well, as we've already said, "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" and after that, when you know, fear, respect and are willing to obey God, THEN you will be able to glean wisdom from almost anywhere. When you see good examples of course you can learn from them, and when you see bad examples you can learn from those too. As you learn, share your insights with your children (at their level of course) and teach them how to glean wisdom from everywhere too.

22 "How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, and fools hate knowledge?

Do you have a stubborn, foolish child?

23 "Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

This verse says that if God reproves us, and we accept His reproof, He will pour out His spirit on us and speak to us. So it should be with our children. We must reprove, and teach our children to accept our reproof, so they will benefit and also so they will know how to accept reproof from God when they are older.

24 "Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention;
25 And you neglected all my counsel, and did not want my reproof;
26 I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes,
27 When your dread comes like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress {and} anguish come on you.
28 "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me,
29 Because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD.
30 "They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof.
31 "So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own devices.
32 "For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them.

I take this as a stern warning to me of what my children will be like if I do not reprove them and be SURE they learn to accept my reproof with a good attitude and WANT to obey my teaching. This should frighten any parent who loves their child, into rising them as God wants them too.

33 "But he who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil."

And here of course is the wonderful promise we can claim for our children if we raise them to "listen" to the us in such a way that later on they will also listen to the Lord.


1 My son, if you will receive my sayings, and treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding;
4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;

This is our goal. This is the attitude we want to cultivate in our children. It's doubtful that we will be able to do this if we don't have that same attitude so we need to get it in us first. After that is should spill over into all we say and do. 

5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God.

So this is the result of seeking the Lord with our whole hearts. We will learn to fear (and respect) the Lord and we will come to know Him. Or you might say it the other way around: we will fear (respect Him and be in awe of His power and all He is), once we come to know him.

6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth {come} knowledge and understanding.

This is the place to look for wisdom and understand, not in our homeschooling books and certainly not in the world. What is your goal for homeschooling by the way? Is it to may your child smart? Better educated? Or is it to teach him to become wise?

7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; {He is} a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones.

What wonderful protection. This is what I want for my children, so this is what I will seek - to teach them to desire wisdom from the Lord at every turn.

9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity {and} every good course.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 Discretion will guard you, understanding will watch over you,
12 To deliver you from the way of evil, .....

More of the benefit of seeking the Lord's wisdom. Here are the answers for when your children ask you WHY they should obey you and WHY they should do what the Lord says is right and good instead of following the world's ways.

....from the man who speaks perverse things;
13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
14 Who delight in doing evil, and rejoice in the perversity of evil;
15 Whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways;

Here's a good description of the types of people to teach your child to look out for. As your children grow, observe others and point out what you observe to your children often. Show them the people who fit the above description and train them to recognize and avoid these people. You can even see these traits in children - those who laugh at mean and ugly things for example. Or children who are happy when they get away with a lie or with deceiving and disobeying their parents. Point out these children to your children and help them see how God warns against this.

16 To deliver you from the strange woman, from the adulteress who flatters with her words;
17 That leaves the companion of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 For her house sinks down to death, and her tracks {lead} to the dead;
19 None who go to her return again, nor do they reach the paths of life.

Perhaps this is a bit too much for your toddlers, but especially as your children get into the teen years you will need to have already taught them the value of keeping the marriage vows. Later you can add the cautions about those who will try to persuade them to do wrong by flattering them. They should learn to recognize the flatterer in all situations not just the marriage situation. Your children (both sons and daughters) need to know the consequences of going astray as well. Every time you hear of a case of divorce, point out the consequences - the damage it does to the individuals and to their families. God hates divorce, so teach your children that it is not an option and they'd better choose wisely and take precious care not to violate their vows. Teach them to be good husbands and wives.

20 So you will walk in the way of good men, and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it;
22 But the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted from it.

The blessings the Lord wants to give those He loves.


1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments;
2 For length of days and years of life, and peace they will add to you.

Just as Solomon wanted to teach his child, so should we want to teach ours. I think it's interesting that Solomon considered his "commandments" to BE "teaching". Today a lot of experts try to tell us that we should not exercise authority over our children. We should not "tell" them or "command" them to do anything. We are not to say "Pick up your toys", but should beat around the bush with words like: "You need to pick up your toys". Well, that's not what Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) did. And please remember that it was God who gave Solomon his wisdom. Personally, I'd rather listen to Solomon than these modern "experts". 

3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.

The importance of teaching your children to be kind can not be overstated. The results are a good reputation and the favor of others. Do not allow bickering between your children. Don't just separate your children to stop the bickering, but go one step further and watch them and teach them how to be kind to one another. This is especially necessary with the older (stronger) ones in regard to the younger (weaker) ones. Watch your children and encourage them to be kind to their younger siblings and others. Although kindness is extremely desirable, it must be balanced with truth. We should not just be sympathetic toward our children and recoil from disciplining them. We also must be truthful about what their real motives are and what their poor behavior (at times) really indicates. Then we need to discipline them accordingly. Be gentle and kind when your children are obeying, but be honest about their misbehavior and discipline them when they need it.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Who do you listen to when it comes to parenting advice? Do you listen to yourself and how you "feel"? Could it be that those "feelings" have been encouraged by the world's "experts". Or do you read God's word and do as it says even if you don't understand completely or even if you don't totally agree. If you do obey the Lord rather than man, you will produce Godly results. This includes the area of childrearing.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 

You are like God to your children. As we are to respond to the Lord, so are our children to respond to us. Teach your children not to argue with you and always be wanting to do what THEY think is best. Instead, teach them to "fear" you (knowing that you will always be just, as God is just) and therefore to obey you and not do what you've told them is wrong.

8 It will be healing to your body, and refreshment to your bones.

One thing I often do is to point out to my children (especially the young ones) how much better they feel when they are obeying me. This is very obvious after a battle of the wills. Once the child finally gives in and changes his heart attitude, he ALWAYS feels a sense of relief and comfort. The relationship with his parents and with God is restored. He is guilt free and it's a wonderful feeling. (If you are concerned about encouraging your child to understand his emotions, this is a good place to start - NOT with the idea that ALL emotions are okay to have and express freely.)

9 Honor the LORD from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

This is something that you can put into practice with little children very often. Teach them to think of the OTHER person (usually another child) FIRST before himself. When you tell your child it's okay to take a cheese stick from the refrigerator for example, watch to see that he gets one for his sibling first. This is, on his level, honoring the Lord from his wealth and from the FIRST of all his produce. Some parents come up with a financial system of tithing from their child's allowance, etc, but I think a better idea is to honor God first by putting others FIRST instead of being selfish. It's not all about money, and young children don't relate well to money anyway.

11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD, or loathe His reproof,
12 For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights.

Where did we get the idea that love is only being nice to your child all the time? No, this verse show us that reprove (when warranted) is also part of love. Love has the best interests of the child in mind, not just giving the child what he wants at the moment. If we really delight in our children we will want them to learn to embrace God's wisdom and learn to willingly live by His ways, for we know this will bring them God's blessings in the future (and even now). Do not neglect to correct your children when they need it, and also don't neglect to teach them to appreciate this discipline.

13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.
14 For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.

How would you explain this to a small child? Maybe a conversation something like this: "Timmy, which do you think is more valuable - being wise or being rich but foolish? Well yes, you can buy a lot of things if you are rich, but if you are rich and foolish, how long to you think you will stay rich? Will you be happy if you are foolish? Will you be happy if you are evil? Can lots of money make you live a long time? What if you are rich and God wants you to die tonight? Won't you still die? Did you know that God says in Proverbs that being wise goes hand in hand with a long life? Riches and honor are extras that wisdom brings you besides. The best thing about being wise is that God says if you are wise you will be happy. I'd rather be wise and happy, than foolish and unhappy."

19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens.
20 By His knowledge the deeps were broken up, and the skies drip with dew.

One of my little ones was asking me the other day about how strong God was. I told him that God was so strong he could do anything, even come alive again after being dead. I also told him that God is so strong He made everything there is. Next time he asks, I will be sure to tell him that it is God's "wisdom" that makes Him so strong and that God's wisdom and understanding will make us strong as well if we seek after it.

21 My son, let them not depart from your sight; keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22 So they will be life to your soul, and adornment to your neck.

God's wisdom is not something that you acquire once and then forget about. It is something that you must continually be seeking after. Raise your children to make this their purpose in life.

23 Then you will walk in your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;
26 For the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.

Isn't it a wonderful thing to have this kind of self confidence. How much better it is to be able to rely on God and His freely given wisdom, than to rely on our own efforts or the knowledge and craftiness of men. Don't try to give your children self-confidence by flattering them or never letting them fail. Instead, teach them that security and confidence come from trusting and obeying the Lord.

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do {it.}
28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give {it,} when you have it with you.

This is a great couple of verses for children. Urge them not to wait to be told exactly what to do. "If you see that your brother is struggling with a messy kitchen, you should pitch in and help him even though it is not your job. If you see that a little one can't pour the milk or get his socks and shoes on, stop what you are doing and help, even if mom didn't ask you to. Always look for ways to help others around you. And if your sister wants to borrow your favorite doll, supervise her if needed, but get that doll down and let her play with it. You'll be doing what is right and kind and the Lord will be pleased and you will feel good inside. 

29 Do not devise harm against your neighbor, while he lives in security beside you. 
30 Do not contend with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.

What a wonderful passage for children! How often do our child maliciously tease each other? Hiding a favorite toy from a sibling perhaps, or grabbing the last cookie and stuff it in their own mouth instead of offering to share it? How much better to teach our children what God thinks of this kind of thing and to get them to recognize it and be ashamed when they act this way (and better yet, not to act this way at all).

31 Do not envy a man of violence, and do not choose any of his ways.
32 For the crooked {man} is an abomination to the LORD; but He is intimate with the upright.

(Talking to my children now...) "Sure, maybe Billy next door has all the latest toys and computer games, but if he also yells back at his mom and pushes his little brother around, should we want to be like him? Maybe he gets what he wants by throwing tantrums, but is that the way we want to be? What does God think of the way Billy acts? Do you think Billy will get God's best blessings in the end? Will he be happy and have a happy family? Isn't it better not to act mean and instead be kind and feel happy instead? I think so."

33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34 Though He scoffs at the scoffers, yet He gives grace to the afflicted.
35 The wise will inherit honor, but fools display dishonor.

I want my home to be blessed. I want grace in my family's time of need, I want a good reputation for my family, not a bad one. Therefore, I will refuse to allow myself or my children to scoff at God's word, and I will seek after God's wisdom with my whole heart and teach my children to do the same. 


1 Hear, {O} sons, the instruction of a father, and give attention that you may gain understanding,
2 For I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my instruction.

It's so plain to see that Proverbs is a book of instruction for parenting children. There is no mention of age here. All ages can learn from their parents.

3 When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,

Don't we mothers love each of our children as if they were our only child? I know I do. I can often be heard telling a child of mine, "You are my favorite 3yo!" Or, "You are the nicest 2yo on the face of the earth", or, "You are my favorite youngest/oldest daughter", etc. My kids all get a kick out of that because they know I say the same thing to each of them. 

4 Then he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live;

Solomon's father, King David, apparently spent a lot of time teaching Solomon all the wisdom he'd gained from living a life for the Lord. If a King can find time to spend with his child, certainly I can too. Fathers should be doing this, not just leaving everything up to the mom. And moms should not leave everything up to the Dad. BOTH parents are mentioned here.

5 Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

Solomon was taught not only to listen to the scriptures but also to his own father's words and to obey them. Of course the two were in agreement, but often children who have not been taught to respect and obey their parents when they are little, become rebellious when they are older and some will claim they only have to obey what God says (their version of course), and not their parents. They often don't even see that their parents are telling them the same thing God is trying to tell them. (Not to mention that God tells us to obey our parents regardless of age or whether we agree with them.)

6 "Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; love her, and she will watch over you.
7 "The beginning of wisdom {is:} acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.
8 "Prize her, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her.
9 "She will place on your head a garland of grace; she will present you with a crown of beauty."

Gaining wisdom is not just collecting facts. It is living out God's truths. Neither is wisdom something that you study for awhile, then forget about, or something that is easily obtained and retained. Wisdom is something you must seek after with your whole heart all the days of your life. In fact, if you don't treasure wisdom in this way, you will not be able to acquire it in the first place.

10 Hear, my son, and accept my sayings, and the years of your life will be many.

Isn't it interesting that obeying the wisdom of the Lord will bring you a long life? Which are you more concerned with: teaching your children to eat well and exercise right, or in gaining wisdom? Which do YOU believe will gain you a long life?

11 I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; and if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.

Our godly teaching will prepare our children to live successfully and pleasantly every day of their lives. If they are properly prepared by us, they will be able to have confidence in their choices whether regarding great matters or small. They will know the right thing to do in every situation because we will have taught them God's ways and how to apply them to every situation. 

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away from it and pass on.

How close should we let our child walk to evil doers? Should we let them spend hours in front of the TV watching examples of ungodly thinking and actions? Should we let them play indiscriminately with every child in the neighborhood? This verse says to "avoid" the path of the wicked.

16 For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; and they are robbed of sleep unless they make {someone} stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

Notice how the wicked don't operate in a vacuum. They actually seem to "need" to get others in trouble with them. It's almost like an addiction. Explain this to your little ones. Even a young child can understand this if you give them examples on their level. Bring to their attention how other children who want to do something wrong will often try to get them to disobey too. Maybe they feel safer when someone is sinning with them, or maybe they want someone to blame if they get caught. Help your child see this potential and let it motivate them to avoid this type of person.

18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

Have you ever seen the sun rise over a large body of water? First the sky begins to change color from black to dark blue, then to glorious pinks, reds, yellows and oranges. Soon a firey neon pink/orange ball begins to emerge seemingly from right out of the water itself at the horizon. Clouds can add to the wild array of colors. Eventually, the sun is fully up and white with brightness, and then for a few hours all the water is covered with dazzling sparkles too bright to look at without squinting. It is the most beautiful sight imaginable. If you ever get a chance to observe this glorious daily occurence, be SURE to show it to your children and to mention this verse. God's creation is such a testimony to Himself!

19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.
20 My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body.

Let us be sure that our words are always the kind of words that our children can embrace and treasure in their hearts like this.

23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it {flow} the springs of life.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put devious lips far from you.

Here's a nice couple of things to start diligently teaching your children: DO NOT be deceitful or devious with your words. Don't try to trick your brothers or sisters. Never lie to anyone, starting with your parents. Do not ever attempt to mislead someone with your words, and remember to keep a good attitude in your heart at all times.

25 Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
26 Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established.
27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil.

Don't allow your children to toy with evil. Watch for the little things and correct them promptly: wrong attitudes, little fibs and the like. Keep them on the right path all the time. Don't wait to correct until they've strayed far from the path of godliness and will have a hard time getting back on track.


1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

You can begin to teach a child to be discrete as soon as they are old enough to begin speaking. There is a time to talk and a time to keep silent. Here's an example of how to teach discretion: Mom to child before the child's birthday party: "If grandmother gives you a toy you already have for your birthday, don't say: 'I don't want this, I already have one of those'. Instead, say: 'Thank you' with a smile."

3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

Who might the "strange woman" be in regards to our children? Really, anyone who tempts them to do what they know is wrong. It could be a neighbor child, or even one of their own siblings.

7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

It seems to me that this verse, when applied to children, tells us to keep our children away from those who might tempt them to do wrong. As they grow we need to teach them to chose to avoid such people themselves. 

9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:
10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

How much better to begin teaching these principles to your children (on their level) when they are little, instead of waiting until they are grown and it may be too late. If nothing else, teach your children to love to learn from your teaching, to appreciate being correct, to obey their parents when they are trying to teach them, and to really listen to their parent's words, not just tune them out. Even a toddler can learn to look at his parent's face and pay attention, then to obey.

14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.
18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

Part of this is the teaching of loyalty. Can you teach a child loyalty? Of course you can. The best place to start is to teach them to be loyal to their own family. They should not prefer their friends over their family. Watch for this and be sure you are not encouraging this by letting them spend too much time away from home. Also watch to see that you are spending enough time building bonds with them yourself. 

19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

This is a little off the topic, but while you are raising those young men and women of your who will become adults and marry someday, remember to impress upon them often, that once they are married they need to CHOOSE to adore their spouse above all others. Let they way you treat your own spouse in everyday matters, be an example to them even when they are very young. 

20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

Every child, toddler age and up, can understand that God is watching him all the time and knows whether he is doing right or wrong. You can remind your little ones of this every time you snuggle together for that bedtime chat. Please don't tell him that God is angrily watching for every mistake, but rather tell him that God loves him and is watching him to guide and protect him. Tell your child to listen to God's voice (their conscience) and do as God instructs them through this and through the teaching of his parents. Make this a positive time of getting to know God, but when your child disobeys in secret, that's the time to remind him that God is also watching his misbehavior and will bring it to light.


1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Because of verses like these, our family does not borrow (or become surety) money unless we have the have the equity to cover the debt. (For example, we do us credit cards, but only for convience, we already have the cash in the bank and we pay off the card every month). This is entirely different from how most of the world lives so you really need to teach your children this as you raise them, or they will not embrace this way of living when they are older.

6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

I don't know too many children who aren't lazy at times. When I see my children being lazy, I tell the story of The Grasshopper and The Ants, which goes hand in hand with this passage. Of course there is also the story of The Little Red Hen too. But beyond just lecturing about being lazy I also focus on verses 6 and 7. They tell us to 1. Observe nature and the way God designed things and learn from them. 2. Observe ants specifically and how they work hard and prosper even with NO authority. Although I am my children's authority right now, I raise them with the purpose of someday not needing me. I remind them of this and tell them to be like the aunts, who don't need a boss to keep them working. Instead they each shoulder their own responsabilites and work diligently without having to be prodded to do so. This is how I want my children to act more and more as they are growing up.

12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

Did you know that you can read your children's minds with a little practice? All you have to do is watch their body language and learn to interpret it accurately. It's not hard if you are honest with yourself and realize that you use the same language. Yes, a child who is covering something up, or lying, or trying to be sneaky, with show it in his eyes, feet and fingers. A lying child will often not look you in the eyes. A defiant child may try to stare you down. A lazy child will drag his feet and move very slowly. A child might even signal or point with his hand sot indict his plans to others, or perhaps by the way he grabs or pushes or shoves, you can tell he is being selfish or proud. Train yourself to watch your children's body language and to read it correctly, then deal with him according to what is in his heart.

16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look,... 

Is your child a "know it all"? Does your child argue with you at every turn? How might you be encouraging this? Have you allowed your child to think they are equal to you? Have you fail to teach them to respect you and to be humble? Remember that this is one of the things the Lord hates.

....a lying tongue,

I've heard the "experts" say that a child as old as ten really can't help but lies. What?! Personally I don't believe it. After 23 years spent raising 10 children, I can only recall a few incidents, less than one per child, where my children attempted to decieve me with a blatant lie. I started very early impressing on the the need to always be truthful. 10 year olds do NOT have to lie (and neither do 3yos).

....and hands that shed innocent blood,

Well I suppose that most young children aren't involved in the sheddding of innocent blood, but they do tend to take advantage of each other and will even be cruel to the weak and helpless if allowed to. Stop that kind of thing when they are young and doing it between siblings, and they won't be shedding innocent blood when they are grown. Teach your child to be protectors of the weak and innocent around them, starting with their younger siblings.

18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, 

I teach my children not to even pretend bad things. I don't allow them to pretend they are a bad guy robbing a bank for example. I don't even want those "wicked imaginations" in their head. This is another good reason to keep your child after from the tv.

....feet that be swift in running to mischief,

Is your child quick to do wrong? Is the first thing that pops into his head the right thing or the wrong thing? If your child tends to think of the wrong thing first, you've got a lot of work to do. Stop this NOW, before habits and thought patterns are established. 

19 A false witness that speaketh lies,

Never allow your children to lie. Most parents probably focus most on the child who lies to cover his own disobedience, but be sure to pay special attention to a child who lies to get another child in trouble - that is being a "false witness".

....and he that soweth discord among brethren.

This is my all time favorite "bickering" verse. We parents tend to overlook bickering between siblings thinking it is "normal". We usually only step in when all the commotion is driving us nuts. Some "experts" even tell us to "let them settle it themselves". I disagree. Proverbs lists this as one of the things that God HATES, and if He hates it, I ought to hate it too, and teach my children the same. I don't allow bickering. When I hear it I stop it, and if I'm hearing it often I change my lifestyle and start keeping my children very close to me so I can stop and correct them for bickering as soon as it begins, not after it escalates.

20 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

It'd be nice to think that all we need to do to turn out good kids is to protect them from physical harm when they are little, then teach them with kindly lectures when they are a little older, and presto, they will adopt our faith in God and always do what it right. But is that really how it works? Can we really instill wisdom and high moral standards in our children with authority? Without "commanding" them? With laying down any "laws"? No, I don't think so. Commands and law, given my father and mothers, are a large part of what it takes to raise godly children. 

21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

Is this how you live you own life? Remember the good and wise things your own parents taught you and be an example to your children of how to embrace these things. If your parents were less than perfect, then search your memory hard, and try to find at least some good values they taught you, even if they didn't hold to them themselves. If you can find nothing, lean on the commandments and the law of your Heavenly Father and embrace those things. We ALL should be going that and teaching our children to do the same. Our earthy parents are really just a picture of our Heavenly Father.

22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.
23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

This is how I strive to live every day, every moment of my life - with the laws of my Heavenly Father leading me. My own father was a picture of my Heavenly Father and I realize that I am that same picture to my little children. My mission is to be the best picture I can be for them.

24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

Let our words teach our children to beware of flattery. Let to identify flattery and separate it from genuine praise. Point of the difference to your children. Even younger ones can understand when you show them how another child is just being nice to get something. That's flattery. Beware. Older children and learn to be more perceptive and they also need to learn watch that they themselves don't flatter others to get what they want.

25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.

Children need to understand consequences just as adults do, and that not everything that looks good is good in the end.

27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

I've many times impressed upon my children that they need to stay far away from temptation. This teaching start with things as simple as teaching them not to stand on the curb, but to stay back on the sidewalk.

29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.

Children often think they can do things in secret, so they need their parents to teach them that this isn't true. 

30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.

I need to be mindful of this verse when I and disciplining my children. I should deal more gently under certain circumstances, but yet not be too lenient. 

32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.

All the little temptations that face a child are just practice for the bigger (yet more subtle) temptations that will face our children when they get older. Let us prepare them adequately.


1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

Keep in mind that these are the words of a parent to his child. They are also the words of God to His children. We should be a picture of God to our children. Our words should be God's words. That means we need to know God's word ourselves so that we can accurately relay them to our children.

3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.

This is the answer for overcoming temptation and even a child can understand it. Be sure your children have good thoughts and good laws in their hearts to follow so that when temptation comes along they will know how to handle it. One of those rules is to avoid temptation when possible.

6 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,
7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

Now what was he doing there in the first place? How often do your children go where it is not wise for them to go?

11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:
12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
19 For the good man is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.

Isn't this what our kids are facing all day every day if we let them go to public school and nurture friendships with those in the world? Maybe the temptation isn't to commit adultery, but it is to take drugs, or to lie to their parents, or to dress immodestly. It is temptation to sin. Even as adults we should now be in this kind of environment, just we allow our kids to be.

22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.

And so, when we let our children face these temptations day after day, eventually they succumb.

24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

How very sad. Shouldn't we keep our children from this?

(c) Copyright 2007 L. Elizabeth Krueger.  All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.