Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way,
choking on their own schemes. Proverbs 1:31 (NLT)
It is said that life is wonderful teacher, and so I’ve found it to be true. Over the holidays, Wendy and I have talked a lot about children and parenting. The holidays are filled with gatherings of family and friends, so it has been interesting to interact with and observe children and parents in various family systems. Our girls are now out of the nest and making their way on their own respective paths just as many of our friends are just setting out on their parenting journey. We’ve found ourselves chatting about lessons learned and observations the two of us have made.
I find it interesting in today’s chapter that Wisdom shouts out and calls us to follow and seek her out. She does not come running after us. She does not rescue us from our foolishness. In the same manner, the Prodigal’s father neither forbid his foolish son to leave home, nor did he journey to the distant land to find and rescue him. I have often observed parents who try so hard to protect their children from every mistake and every one of life’s ills by suffocating them with controlling rules and regulations. Home is Gitmo. Assuming the worst of both the child and of life, they try to isolate and grip their children tightly.
The problem is that I’ve found children to be both slippery and squirmy. When you try to clamp your hand tightly around something slippery it usually shoots out somewhere you didn’t intend.
And so, Wendy and found ourselves discussing both extremes of controlling and permissive parenting. Wendy nailed it when she said that the balance between the two was “reasonable” parenting that gave wise and necessary guidance and discipline without tipping over into unreasonable control. Easier said than done, but in today’s chapter I find Wisdom striking a similar balance. She shows the way, provides the road map and calls us all to follow. If we choose to listen we experience the blessing of having listened and obeyed. If we choose not to listen, well then life and the consequences of our own choices becomes a wonderful teacher.