Praying for Prudence: Wisdom from Proverbs to handle ‘Hot Topics’ with Teens

Friday Follow-up on Moms of Teens discussion of Chapter 6 in And Then I Had Teenagers: Encouragement for Parents of Teens and Preteens by Susan Yates

Proverbs 1 7

Meditate on Proverbs 1.

Proverbs 1  (NIV)

Purpose and Theme

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a]
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.[b]
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.

Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom
Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men

8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.

Wisdom’s Rebuke

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall[d] she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.

We need wisdom to handle hot topics! What do you learn about wisdom from this chapter?

Here is what I learned:

image image

Then I looked up some definitions using’s resources:

Simple: Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs denotes a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil.

Fear of the Lord:  in the Old Testament it is used as a designation of true piety (Prov. 1:7; Job 28:28; Ps. 19:9). It is a fear conjoined with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish dread, but rather filial reverence. 

Prudence: Careful, wise discernment; the avoidance of rash behavior or speech; the good management of talents and resources and the showing of tact and wisdom in relationships with other people.

OMG….I LOVE this definition!!!  I am praying for prudence for my teens, and myself, and for all of you!  And it sounds like the key to it is reading the Proverbs! I wasn’t planning to do the 31 day challenge in #3 because I have a bible reading plan. But I sense God putting it on my heart. Anyone want to join me? We could do it in November.

1. Which hot topic is an issue in your family right now? Is there specific teaching in the Scriptures on this topic? What steps can you take to lessen the “sizzle” of this hot issue? (For example: agree as parents on the issue, clarify your policy, communicate the whys of your policy to your teen.)

We discussed this in class and we added the 2 topics at the bottom:

  • Sex
  • Dating and curfews
  • Drinking and drugs
  • Grades
  • Driving
  • Money
  • Media (internet, TV, movies, music)
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self-Mutilation (cutting, etc.)

And guess what? Especially with our big group… we have ALL the topics covered! Not solved… but on our radar. We discussed several of the policy ideas in the book but came back to asking for God’s wisdom. 

One quote from the section of the book on Sex and dating, that stood out to me was:

“It is good for a man not to touch a woman,” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:1 In the original Greek, touch translates “light a fire within her.” So how far can we go physically? A good guideline: Don’t ignite the fire of passion.

Yates, Susan Alexander (2001-08-01). And Then I Had Teenagers: Encouragement for Parents of Teens and Preteens (p. 111).

That was just one of the many passages I highlighted and we discussed. Although some of it may have been slightly out of date, this chapter had a lot of good policy ideas.

2. List other hot topics that have occurred or will be likely to occur in your family. What will your family policy be on each topic? Write down your current thoughts. Keep in mind that you will need to refine and update your approach.

3. It is very helpful to have a few other parents with whom you agree on policy. These should be parents with children approximately the ages of yours. Design a “Parent’s Policy” on whatever issues you can and determine to stick together on implementation. This will give you support and give your teens a sense that their parents “aren’t the only ones who . . .” They may not like it, but it will give them a sense of security.

Meditate further on the Book of Proverbs. Read one chapter each day, matching the day of the month to the proverb (there are 31 chapters).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge

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