Proverbs 1

As promised. I figured I may as well start at the beginning. And my focus will be on the metaphors and similes found in the book of Proverbs. In all of writing, my favorite literary devise is an apt simile (using "like" or "as" to describe something, usually something quite different from the original idea but with at least one specific picture that makes your original idea more memorable).

Here's the first one from Proverbs 1:
8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
   and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
9for they are a graceful garland for your head
   and pendants for your neck (ESV).

Specific Words.
It's important our kids understand "hear" as used here. =) Rather than telling them, ask them what they think this specific word means. If they're not getting it, try giving them multiple choice options. (And just a note on multiple choice, some kids will always want to pick the last thing you said, so change up which option is your "correct choice.")

"Hear"--is it:
  • saying "uh-huh" or "yes, ma'am/sir" whenever mommy or daddy says something?
  • stopping what you're doing and thinking about what they're saying?
  • obeying based on what mommy or daddy says?
Notice, the "forsake not." Forsaking or neglecting has the idea of leaving something alone, or not doing something you're supposed to do. I explained it to Jordan (5) this way: if I were to leave Mark (3 months) in his crib and go to the grocery store without him, I would be neglecting him, or forsaking him. It's not what I'm supposed to do; I wouldn't be taking care of my responsibility. Jordan right away knew that was an AWFUL idea. He is very protective of his baby bro. In the same way, though, if you leave off cleaning up your toys or making your bed and go play instead, you're neglecting doing what you're supposed to do. That made sense to him. When parents give instruction, it's not just to hear themselves talk; it's with the desire that their children would obey what they're telling them, learn from what they have to say.

If your kids are a little older and can understand "parallel construction"--two things lined up that have the same direction/meaning--you can point out how "hear" and "forsake not" are set up as "parallels"--both have the thrust of doing/obeying the instruction/teaching (another set of parallels). If you journal as you go, it may be fun to draw parallel lines and group the concepts together above and below each other.

Then there's the metaphor (where one thing stands in the place of another, like a simile but without the "like" or "as" and so a little stronger):

"they are a graceful garland for your head
   and pendants for your neck"

Get the picture. Think Olympic athletes. Back in the day, a garland was placed on the winner's head; we still place a pendant or medal around the neck of the winner. My kids immediately connected this to the DVD of Eric Liddell, the Olympian who wouldn't run on Sundays and later became a missionary. So the idea of the garland and pendant is, basically, that of being a winner!

Then find the comparison. What is the graceful garland and pendant compared to? The instruction/teaching of a parent, and specifically the hearing/obeying/not forsaking of that godly instruction.

So the lesson's simple: obey, and you're a winner!
And now they have a great word picture to go with it.

  • Craft for kids: Make a pendant and write "OBEY" on the "medal" and a leafy wreath.
  • Write the verse and draw a picture of an Olympic athlete. 
  • Think about using some of the words from your Proverbs Time for spelling: hear, forsake, winner. Or harder: Olympian, graceful, pendant, obedience.
  • Other fun Olympics links here.

Enjoy the time you get with your kids talking about the Word. And then watch for opportunities to apply it. I typed half of this on Monday afternoon, and--no joke--Monday night, we had a reason to talk about
"not forsaking your mother's teaching." And I was thankful I'd thought about it during the day, because God's Word is a far better counselor than I am.



I'd love to hear from you. Please post how your kids responded to this Truth Talk/Proverbs Time or which lesson idea was your favorite part (most helpful or most fun). Looking forward....

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