Read: Proverbs 4
“Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice; sit up and take notice so you’ll know how to live. I’m giving you good counsel; don’t let it go in one ear and out the other. (Proverbs 4:1-2, MSG)
“Listen up!” People who know me will hear me say that with some regularity. It’s my way of getting people’s attention. It means that I’m fixin’ to say something that’s extremely important—at least in my humble opinion. I think it’s especially important for parents to be giving those kinds of listen up talks to their children. Start early and do it often—don’t abdicate the impartation of wisdom to your children’s teacher, or to pop culture, or to their friends. It is your job—so do it! Do it out of love; do it out of your own reservoir of Godly wisdom (which, if you don’t have, means you need to quickly get to the Source and start filling your own tank); take responsibility for shaping their lives; do it because next to the Word of God, you are the single biggest influence for good and godliness your child has—or at least you should be.
My fear is that far too many parents have left the business of molding their child’s intellect and character to the winds of fate. Perhaps that’s why, as many of us are convinced, our country is morally and intellectually adrift—fast approaching the shoals of has-been. But I’m not ready to abandon our culture to second-rate status; I believe we can quickly reverse our spiritual-moral-cultural drift one child at a time by parents simply doing what parents are supposed to do: Having those listen up talks with our kids.
About a year ago my older daughter graduated from a leading business school with her MBA, and during a break in the commencement activities, her mother and I were giving her the listen up talk—at her invitation. (By the way, the ratio of unsolicited to solicited parental advice obviously decreases as the age of your child increases—and at a certain point, you get to have those talks only as they invite you into their world.) I found myself sharing with her my list of life lessons—core convictions that drive the way I think and the way I act. I noticed that as I was sharing from my reservoir of life experiences as filtered through God’s Word she was actually listening.
I think she will do just fine because that wasn’t the first listen up talk we’d ever had.
Maybe it’s time you had the first in a series of your own listen up talks with those special people in your life.
“To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.” ~Josh Billing
Winning At Life:
Make a list of your ten most important life lessons. Over the course of the next 90 days, find ways to slip them in, one at a time, to the conversations you are having with your children or grandchildren. The younger they are, the more assertive you can be. The older they are, the more creative and Spirit-led you will need to be.