40 days of Wisdom – Treasure

By | March 23, 2011

Read Proverbs 2: 1-11

Parents: What do you treasure? What do you turn your ear to (listening), call out for (speak), cry aloud for (desire), look for (fill your eyes with), search for (make your goals)? Teaching must have a goal.  Modern educational theory sees knowledge (cognitive skills), attitudes (affective skills), and abilities (psychomotor skills) as the goals of teaching. In Proverbs, the goal of teaching is faith, character, and wise living.

Are we talking about these things in our home? Do allow our children to see our wise and unwise decisions or are we afraid to show them our mistakes? How will we model wisdom if we do not show both sides of our decisions? Do we allow our children to feel the effects of unwise choices and attitudes or let them slide by without this necessary step in developing character?

The focus of the world values modern educational theory over the goal of proverbs. Both developmental paths are needed to create whole and healthy families. Use Lent to pray about wisdom pursuing both paths as a family. Commit to concentrating on building wisdom as a family together.

High School: Read Proverbs together and discuss the following questions. Pray aloud with each other. This is very difficult for families to do and makes people very nervous. Start simple by learning to pray Bible verses. Try to divide verses 1-11 up among your family to pray aloud. Have each member read through their verses and inset their own name whenever it says you, your, my son, the upright, those who’s walk is blameless, the just and the faithful ones. Commit to praying those verses out loud as a family three more times during Lent.

Discussion Questions:
1. Verses 1-4 tell us different things we must do. What do verses 1 and 2 say we should do? (accept his word, store up his commands within us, turn our ear to wisdom, apply our heart to understanding)

2. What does verse 3 say we should do? (call out for insight, cry aloud for understanding)

3. Finally, what does verse 4 say we should do? (look for it as for silver, search for it as for hidden treasure.)

4. As the verses progressed, the things we need to do seemed to get more difficult and require us to be more passionate and give more of ourselves. Did you notice that pattern? Do you think it is hard or easy to search for something as for gold? What does that mean to you (Allow the kids time to answer each question, especially the last one.)

5. What will happen when we are able to search for wisdom the way this proverb describes? (Hint: verse 5) (we will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.)

6. Where does wisdom come from? (Wisdom comes from the Lord. Only he can give us wisdom, knowledge and understanding)

Middle School:

(Hold up the stack of computer paper.) Our lives can be compared to this stack of computer paper. (Set the stack down and pick up a single sheet of paper.) Each sheet of paper is like a brand new day. There are many things we can do with it. We could be artistic and create a beautiful picture. We could write a breathtaking adventure story that has readers on the edge of their seats. Or perhaps we could be inventive and create something brand new like the Wright brothers did so many years ago when they invented the airplane. (Take a sheet of paper, fold it into a paper airplane and sail it across the room.) We could also let anger or frustration get the best of us and ruin the day completely. (Crumple a sheet of paper into a ball and toss it into the trash.) Each sheet of paper can be combined into chapters, the chapters into a book, and the book into volumes. God graciously gives us the choice on what we will do with each day. We must include God in our daily activities if we are going to use each day to its full potential. Even bad days can turn out good when we keep God in the picture. We can do this by reading his word. Read Proverbs 2:1-11. Talk about how learning what is in God’s word can help us in everyday life.

Elementary:

Collect several different types of maps online, from the phone book, and travel resources.  Types of maps could include maps of zoos, amusement parks and maybe even a treasure map that is cartoonish in nature. As the kids arrive ask them to find special places on the map. Ask them how they could find their way to a place they have never been before. Talk about the importance of having a good map.

Make a treasure map highlighting various areas in your house or neighborhood. The treasure will be a plate of cookies or another type of treat. Let the kids help read the map. Build anticipation as much as possible by making comments about the treasure you hope to find. Help the kids find the treasure and then thank God for the bounty.

As the kids enjoy the treat, talk about maps and how they help us get to places we have never been before. As the kids finish their snack, excitedly tell them that God’s word the Bible will help us get to a place that we have never been before, heaven! God’s word also helps us follow God’s map for our lives everyday that we are on earth. It is a treasure itself. Read Proverbs 2:1-11 as a family. There are very good translations for kids to be found in the Adventure Bible and the New International Readers Version Bible.

Preschool

You will put a sack of gold coins in an unmarked brown bag and hide it somewhere in your house where it will take the kids a while to find it. Inform the children that you have hidden chocolate gold coins (you can use pennies also) somewhere in the room. Let the children know that if someone finds the gold coins, the treat is to be shared. Allow the kids to look for the sack of gold. If the kids can’t find the chocolate within 5 minutes or if they ask for help, you can give them clues. The longer they look for the gold, the more this lesson will impact them! Once the kids have found the chocolate coins, ask them the following questions before giving them the chocolate.

1. Was it hard to find the chocolate coins?
2. Did you get frustrated when you could not find them?
3. Was it easier when you asked for help and I gave you hints?

The only way to get the wisdom we want is by searching for it like we searched for our hidden chocolate coins! We have to really look for it, and even ask for help in finding that treasure we are looking for! It will be difficult, but the rewards will be well worth it! Read to them Proverbs 2:4-6.

You can make a treasure map that includes one space for each day of Lent. Have kids put coin stickers on each space as the day passes until Good Friday and Easter. You can have them color a Cross and a Tomb for those days. See ideas for Lent activity calenders at this website Crafts for Lent for Kids.

40 Days of Wisdom – Don’t get trapped!

By | March 16, 2011

Read Proverbs 1: 10-19

For Parents: Modeling

Our actions speak louder than words. This especially true in the home. Children learn values, morals and priorities by observing how their parents act and react every day. Are you communicating when you fall into the traps of sin. Are you modeling how to ask for and give forgiveness in these situations. What are your traps? How do you steer clear of or run from them?

High School: Recognizing Traps

Sin is enticing because it offers a quick route to prosperity and makes us feel like one of the crowd. But when we go along with others and refuse to listen to the truth, our own desires enslave us and we’ll do anything to satisfy them. We must learn to make choices not on the basis of approval or pleasure, but in light of who were are in Christ. We can’t be friendly with sin and expect our lives to remain unaffected.

Discuss: How does sin trap you? In your school work, in your friendships, in your family, on TV or music, with your body. What can you do to run from these traps? Watch for traps this week and ask God to provide a way out as he has promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Action: Text bible verses to each other as a family to run from temptation and seek what is wise. Bible SMS and daily Bible offer free service for cell phones and email. There are several free or inexpensive apps for smart phones.

Middle School: Gain from traps

Sin is easy to fall into if we desire the wrong things. Research all the types of animal traps there are as a family. Ask each other these questions. What do animal want from these traps? What leads them in and traps them? How can wanting the wrong things or being lazy cause animals to be trapped? Do animals get what they expected from these traps?

Discuss: Can wanting wrong things or being lazy trap us in our work, in our friendships, on TV, on the computer? What can be some hurts we get from wanting wrong things for us? How can we learn to recognize traps in our lives? Watch for traps this week and ask God to provide a way out as he has promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Action: Buy an inexpensive mouse trap – the wood kind with a snap trap. (CAUTION: these can be very dangerous). Practice setting and tripping the trap so the family sees how a mouse would be trapped and hurt or killed. Read Proverbs 1: 10-19 again. How does the visual of the trap explain what these verses say? Keep out your family trap through Lent to remind you help one another run from temptation. Stay tuned for lessons from Proverbs on how to apply scripture to overcome temptation.

Elementary: Could this be a trap?

“Come On, gang! Let’s go get him!” Jordan started running and everyone ran after him. Everyone but Kyle. Kyle had read proverbs 2:6-15, and he knew that “wisdom will save you from the way of wicked men”. Here is what Kyle did and what you can do to help you think before you act. Kyle counted to five by asking himself these questions:

1. Is it right? 2. Is it good? 3. Is it helpful? 4. Would my parents approve? 5. Would God approve?

Action: Have each family member trace their hand on a piece of colored paper. Everyone can write out Proverbs 1: 10 on the top: “If sinner’s entice you, turn your back on them.” Everyone can write one of the questions on each finger of their hand. Display the hands in your house and talk about how you will turn your backs on temptation as a family during Lent.

Preschool: Getting trapped!

Read the story of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Say: Did Peter obey? Was peter happy or sad that he did not obey. God was sad that Peter did not obey. God wants us to obey. Wise children obey. God wants us to be wise so we can be safe.

Action: Have your children learn this in order to teach them why wise kids obey.

You say: Who is in charge?                                       They say: Mom and Dad.

You say: Why are mom and dad in charge?          They say: God put them in charge.

You say: Why did God put us in charge?               They say: So children grow big and strong

Resources: Peter Rabbit online crafts and ideas, lesson plans, online story, cute you tube video

Family Lent

By | March 3, 2011

Recently we played a game as a family. I used to think playing games with little children was hard, but preteens raise the ante on the same set of problems. I was stunned by the level of selfishness, negative competition, slander, and whining. We could have ignored these character issues and just watch TV together for family night, but that would not be intentional parenting. Intentional parenting addresses character issues to transform a heart for God’s glory.

Lately I have realized how uninspiring our time as a family has gotten. We watch or observe something together because it is easier than pressing into our family dynamic. It is easier to go to the movies than go sledding. It less complicated to watch WipeOut than play Pictionary. This is why we need timely reminders to act intentionally.

I am thankful for the Lenten season. 40 days set aside by the historical church to focus on the coming of Resurrection Sunday. It can be a time of intentional focus. It is not about giving something up, but rather giving greater attention to motivations, passions, and actions.

Parent Equipping at Vista is celebrating Lent by blogging 40 days of Wisdom. We will go through Proverbs to help us assess and address character issues and development in our families. Each week will move through scripture and family activities for every age group, toddler through high school. Intentional spiritual growth as a family is hard and counter-cultural. TV and movie producers would just as soon we would consume without connection. There is nothing wrong with a family night out at the movies, but we are hoping this Lent season we can help each other become more intentional in engaging character issues in order to follow God’s plan.

Proverbs 1: 5-7

“Let those who are wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.

And let those who understand receive guidance by exploring the depth of meaning

in these proverbs, parables, wise sayings and riddles.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and

discipline.”

Websites about Lent: www.crosswalk.com, www.christianitytoday.com, beliefnet

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