Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
No one would have believed sixteen-year-old Brazilian skateboarder Felipe Gustavo would become “one of the most legendary skateboarders on the planet.” Gustavo’s dad believed his son needed to pursue his dream of skating professionally, but they didn’t have the money. So his dad sold their car and took his son to the renowned Tampa Am skating competition in Florida. No one had heard of Gustavo . . . until he won. And the victory catapulted him into an amazing career.
Gustavo’s dad had the capacity to see his son’s heart and passion. “When I become a father,” Gustavo said, “I just want to be like 5 percent of what my dad was for me.”
Proverbs describes the opportunity parents have to help their children discern the unique way God has crafted their heart, energy, and personality—and then to direct and encourage them toward the path that reflects who God made them to be. “Start children off on the way they should go,” the writer said, “and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (22:6).
We may not possess vast resources or profound knowledge. With God’s wisdom (vv. 17–21) and our attentive love, however, we can offer our kids and other children within our sphere of influence an immense gift. We can help them trust in God and discern the paths they can follow for a lifetime (3:5–6).
Where have you encountered a parent attentive to their child’s heart or energy? How has God revealed His attentive ways to you?
Heavenly Father, as I consider how good parents pay attention to their children, I know You’re the truest parent. Thank You for seeing and guiding me.
Proverbs 22 opens a window into the world of King Solomon. Beginning in verse 17, Solomon provides a collection of thirty “sayings of the wise,” which are modeled on the proverbs of an Egyptian sage named Amenemope. A “sage” was the ancient Near Eastern equivalent of a modern philosopher, and Solomon’s work in Proverbs shows he was well aware of his fellow sage’s approach to wisdom. The striking differences in Solomon’s take on Amenemope’s work, however, highlight the crucial role of Israel’s God in wise living. Wisdom on its own isn’t enough, but, as Solomon notes in verse 19, the goal of wisdom is confident trust in God Himself.
Believers in Jesus don’t have a monopoly on wisdom. Like Solomon did with the Egyptian sages, we can find wisdom at work across the globe. But we also know that wisdom ultimately must direct humanity back to the God who created us.