A friend was recently giving me an update on how it’s going–now that his oldest child is behind the wheel. He said he grips the door handle and yells a lot, and it seems to be working!

I laughed and told him I’d have to try his grip-n-yell technique. So far, whenever my daughter (also a new driver) is in the driver’s seat, I’ve only employed the technique of loudly lecturing with vivid hand motions her on all the things she should have done ‘back there’.

She says it isn’t helping.

It got me thinking about parenting in general. If you were to create a graph, categorizing all of the ways I communicate with my kids, the leading column–I’m afraid–would be lecturing. I spend far more time telling them what they should have done ‘back there’, than telling them what they should do ‘up here’.

In other words, I correct more than I train. I reprove more than I cast vision. I discipline more than I teach.

Yet the parent in Proverbs 2 does just the opposite. He says to his son:

  • Do you want to always know the right thing to do?
  • Do you want God to shield you from calamity?
  • Do you want God to guard your path, so that no one attacks you?
  • Do you want God to watch over you, and keep you safe?
See how this parent whets the appetite for wisdom? He’s with his child, parked near the on-ramp of life, looking out over the dashboard, asking, “What do you want this drive to be like? What crashes and roadblocks do you want to avoid?”

Then, he says, “So, here’s the highway you want to take. It’s named Wisdom.” He points out how this road is marked by upright decisions, integrity and justice.

He promises his child that if he will call out for wisdom, seek it, and search for it like treasure,

“Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” (Proverbs 2:9-10)
I love how this Proverbs parent casts a vision for the road ahead, enticing his child to pursue wisdom. It seems more effective than ranting about what happened ‘back there’. (I’ll bet my daughter would agree.) 
And isn’t this how God parents us? He doesn’t lecture or yell about our past indiscretions. He invites us to take the path of wisdom. He points to the on-ramp, just ahead.

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