Choose Wisely

Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts, Sheridan House Family Ministries

How do you know which way is right? That is a significant question, isn’t it? Where do we go for answers? How do we know which way is right? How does the next generation learn to think for themselves rather than be guided by the latest trends? As parents, how do we give them a compass for life’s direction?

We are entering into an election season. Many ideas and statements will be made by the candidates. How do we know which is right and which is wrong?


In one of the final scenes of the third movie of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) has finally made it to the cave containing the chalice supposedly used by Christ in the last supper. As he looks at the stone table, he sees dozens of chalices to choose from. Drinking from the correct chalice was supposed to extend life. Drinking from any of the other chalices would cause immediate death. Standing in the cave was an old crusader assigned to guard the chalices. Before Indiana Jones chose the chalice, the old warrior gave him great advice: “Choose wisely.”


The wisdom of Solomon

One of the most significant areas of training is the development of wisdom and raising a child to choose wisely.

The writer of Proverbs urged his child to choose with wisdom. In fact, the entire book of Proverbs is a lesson from a parent to a child on making wise choices in life.

The greatest lesson a parent can teach a child is the ability and discipline to make wise choices. Wisdom gives a child the ability to guard his heart (Proverbs 4:23), to choose with wisdom not emotion and lust. Without that training, a child or adult will be easily seduced by marketers and tempters. Without the ability to guard his heart, the child won’t be able to push straight ahead past the temptations and reach the special goals God has planned for him. Many young people have made unwise choices, left their heart unguarded and ended up marrying the wrong person.

Obviously, the center point of parent training is to help children learn to think intelligently rather than culturally, and how to discern with wisdom rather than think like the crowd.


Go to the source

choose wiselyWhere does wisdom come from? Do we learn wisdom from academics, sports or music? Do we learn wisdom from entertainment or all the other things we spend so much of our time on? Proverbs tells us that wisdom comes from God and the Bible. The Bible indicates that those who are trained without knowledge and access to wisdom grow up severely handicapped.

Knowing where wisdom comes from, the next step is to begin training that wisdom. If wisdom comes from God then it would behoove parents to set the example of turning to the Bible for answers. Use the Bible as the discussion point at one family meal or moment a day. Talk about issues and teach the children how to go to the Bible as their reference point.

As we enter into this election year, use the campaign issues as an opportunity to teach the child how to reference the Bible for answers. It doesn’t matter what well-meaning people say on a particular issue, but what God says. Wisdom is the ability to reference God for answers.  

The family that is willing to take the time to find God’s opinion on every issue, is the family that will raise a leader God will use in answering questions for others in the future. This child will also grow up learning to question the latest trends and cultural turns.

He will be able to stay on the path God has for him because he can access God’s road map for wise living.


Stay on the path

In the first chapter of Joshua, God told this new leader to be very careful to stay on the path and not veer to the right or to the left. He was leading people into a new, very pagan, environment. They needed to stay on the path of thinking wisely. Perhaps the most significant training we can give a child is to learn to process every intellectual exercise or decision through the opinion of the One who created intellect to begin with.

Without this training a child is set adrift in life without a guiding instrument. He or she is left without the wisdom to reach the plans God has for them. This part of the training curriculum is important because it teaches a child how to think rather than leaving them to follow the crowd. Train your child to choose wisely!


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