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Proverbs For Dinner

The book of Proverbs is like the twitter feed of the bible.

Our family likes to make a practice of reading from the book of Proverbs during dinner. I usually spend a few minutes before dinner reading through a chapter and picking out 3 or 4 proverbs that are especially relevant to things going on in our family at the moment. I then read those selected proverbs to our whole family while we eat our meal. I usually just read one, and then give time for everyone to respond and offer thoughts and reflections. I am consistently surprised by how quickly the kids make connections between some abstract proverbial statement from the Bible and their immediate concrete reality. They are usually quick to see the relevance of a given proverb to a recent situation that they encountered. Sometimes, I have to offer a few comments to help them see how a given proverb might push on some of our character flaws.

I especially like to bring up the many proverbs about the importance of parents disciplining their children. For example:

Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. – Prov 13:24

This proverb (and many others like it) have helped our children to see that discipline from parents is an act of love. We have had some great conversations about how it might not feel that way in the moment, but the long term outcome of that discipline brings goodness, godliness, and blessing to the child. When seen from that perspective, our children know that we are showing them love when we discipline them. Of course, my wife and I are quick to admit that we sometimes discipline out of frustration and that doesn’t produce good fruit. These are opportune moments for us to model repentance to our children and to talk about how we can all do better in the future.

We are seeing some really good fruit from reading Proverbs at dinner time. Our kids are better able to see that our efforts to discipline and train them are an attempt to live in obedience to Scripture rather than arbitrary rules designed to make their lives miserable.

We’ve also seen how a few of these wisdom tweets actually stick in the kids brains. They remember them, and get wiser. They sometimes even quote proverbs to each other when one sibling sees that another needs a little reminder of what would be wise in a given situation. This is evidence that the Word is taking root in their minds and hearts.

Another great benefit of this practice is that dinner time conversation is less about poo and more about avoiding folly. That is a noticeable improvement over what our dinner conversations were like before we started Proverbs For Dinner. I can’t recommend this simple and effective strategy highly enough.