Breakfast & Bible

We start our days with a devotion around the breakfast table. For the past year, we've been going through the book of Proverbs one/two verses at a time. We have a poster that my girls colored. As you can see, it has 2 columns--the Wise Person, and the Foolish Person, and as we read a verse, we write in the column the characteristics and outcomes of these two people. Proverbs is a book of wisdom, so pretty much everything can be divided into one of these 2 categories.
I got this idea from Shepherding a Child's Heart, where Tedd Trip instructed his 8 yr old son to read some verses in Proverbs and asked him to examine his disobedient behavior as wise or foolish. I loved this idea, but wanted to make it on the level for my (then) pre-schooler. Instead of merely showing her these Biblical principles when she disobeyed, I wanted it to be on-going, "shepherding her heart" day-to-day. We've made it through several chapters, and are on our second poster now. Little sister joined us in our devotions during the summer, and when we started doing it at the breakfast table this fall, Bubba hears along too. I had no idea how fruitful this would be! Now whenever we find ourselves in a discipline situation, we refer back to the poster. One of the very first verses reveals that the Wise Person obeys their parents. Then we keep reading the poster to see all the blessings that come to someone when they are wise. Then we look at the Foolish Person--one who ignores correction and hates discipline. We review what will become of the Foolish Person, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually...if they don't learn wisdom and discipline, they will come to ruin, death, destruction, terror, etc. etc. It's eye-opening for them. And it helps remind them that my motives are not to destroy their fun, but to teach them to be individuals who make good choices, who love God, and who have great character.

As my Kindergartner has blossomed into a wise child who generally obeys, the Proverbs study is still relevant to her (it's relevant to me! I benefit from these devotions as well!).
Today she was crying, dreading the cotton-swab-throat-poke for her strep test at the doctor. I tried to comfort her, and then said, "Let's see if God's word has some encouragement for you. Let's look at our Proverbs poster." We recalled that the foolish person ignores advice, and I had advised her to get the test. We recalled how the wise person has health and vitality (note: Proverbs are not the same as God's promises. They are generalities--the most common outcomes of using wisdom vs. not). We defined "vitality" and visualized what that would be like in contrast to how bad she's been feeling with her sore throat and fever. I let her weigh the cost of suffering the strep test vs. the consequences of not taking it. She smiled a sheepish smile that I know all too well, which means, she has come around to seeing my perspective. We went to the doctor, she was still dreading it, but she stopped the tears and decided to sit still so the doctor could get the swab as efficiently as possible. A wise decision for a 6 yr old. :)

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