Pick up your toys. Take your plate to the sink. Don’t talk to your brother like that. Share with your friends. Do not correct adults. Stay in the yard. Flush then wash your hands…..
I’m teaching my boys many lessons right now. At five and four years old, they need constant reminders on how to act and react. King Lemuel’s mom had some lessons for her son too. I’m sure you are familiar with Proverbs chapter 31 as an example to wives. But, let’s look at it in its context–advice from mom to son.
King Lemuel’s mom started off the oracle in Proverbs 31 by asking, “What are you doing my son? Son of my womb? Son of my vows?” Sounds to me like an exasperated momma! Let’s look closer at the areas she addresses in her reproof:
- Have self-control. She specifically mentions heavy drinking as destructive behavior. Her point is to stay in control of your words and actions. We must help our children with this at every stage. Already, I have to help my five year old control his emotions, especially his anger. I give him time and space to cool down and then we talk about ways he could have handled the situation differently. I clearly remember times when I was a teenager and did not have self-control. As a result hurt myself and others. We can instruct and guide our children in this area, but above all, we must pray for the Holy Spirit to act in their lives and produce the fruit of self-control.
- Care for others, especially those who cannot care for themselves. She mentions the mute, destitute, poor and needy. “Open your mouth,” she instructs her son the king. We can also encourage our children to care for others. Our church does an outreach each year and prepares hundreds of meals for homeless and hungry people in a near-by city. Each year we have more children involved in this outreach. Our youth group is also involved in helping others through local ministry projects and mission trips like World Changers. Children and teens can make a difference in the lives of others, especially when given the opportunities.
- Marry well. As we will learn more about in the coming weeks, the rest of chapter thirty-one is King Lemuel’s mother describing the excellent wife. This is the part of the chapter we are most familiar with. She tells her son an excellent wife is hard to find, but worth the search! I know many moms of little ones who are already praying for the future spouses of their children. I know moms of teenagers who are really praying! Help your children know what qualities to look for in a spouse. Help your son know where to find an excellent wife. King Lemuel’s mom goes into great detail describing the ideal wife. We can learn from her as we pray for our children’s future spouses.
King Lemuel’s mom probably taught him many lessons. These three stuck with him and he recorded them for generations to read. As we learn from this mom, we can also prepare our children to have self-control, help others, and marry well.
What lessons are you teaching your children right now that you hope will impact their future?