With three boys (a 7-year-old and twin 4-year-olds), anger is one topic that arises often. I imagine this will only grow in frequency when testosterone enters the picture. Needless to say, this Proverb was both timely and chock-full of goodness!
Proverbs 12:16 (AMP)
A fool’s wrath is quickly and openly known, but a prudent man ignores an insult.
To help our kiddos apply this to their lives, we did the following activities over of a couple of days:
We Talked About It
We found an invaluable family devotional book online and I’m pleased to use this as we launch into conversations about Proverbs with our littles. This devotion for kids gives practical examples of how a “fool” acts and how a “prudent man” handles themselves when presented with situations a child might find themselves in.
We Did an Object Lesson
We went on an imaginary journey in the backyard together. I put an empty backpack on my son and said, “Imagine that you’re headed to school and you see your friend Nick on the way to class. What if he said, ‘You look stupid’?”
My eldest son responded with how he would feel. I then put a brick inside of the backpack. I explained if he didn’t ignore the insult, it would weigh him down. We continued to play out different scenarios that might cause hurt or anger throughout a typical day, adding bricks to his backpack each time. At some point, those insults (and the feelings incurred by them) become too much to bear. We talked about how, eventually, you have to put them down. And, unfortunately, if you’re tired from carrying them, you’ll likely drop the bag quickly. That is why one can lose their temper over something small, causing pain for anyone involved. But if we can avoid holding onto the brick in the first place, we save ourselves (and others) heartache.
You can find some other object lessons to do with your children on this Pinterest board.
We Asked Questions
I’ve found myself dissecting verses and then redefining them with the kids. I used the definitions they gave me as I asked these questions about the verse:
- What is a fool?
- Kids’ answer: someone not smart
- What is wrath?
- Kids’ answer: anger
- What is an example of someone’s wrath being openly known?
- Kids’ answer: hitting someone
- What is a “prudent” or wise man?
- Kids didn’t know; my answer: someone with experience and knowledge
- What does it mean to ignore someone?
- Kids’ answer: to not listen to someone
- What’s an insult?
- Kids’ answer: saying something mean
- Verse redefined: Someone who isn’t smart shows they are angry quickly (for example, by hitting), but someone with experience and knowledge doesn’t listen when someone says something mean. I realize a little bit of the verse gets lost in translation, but I’m hoping for participation and easy digestion of the verse.
- I also asked, “Does God ever get mad? Is that a sin?” That was a great discussion! to explain that anger is not a sin – but rather how we respond in our anger determines whether we are obeying God or not with our actions.
We Used the Verse in Discipline
A silly dispute broke out between my 7-year-old and one of the 4-year-olds. I was able to pull them aside and ask them what we learned earlier from the verse we discussed. I re-read the verse and we discussed how hitting someone wasn’t “ignoring an insult” but rather “acting foolishly” by showing “wrath quickly and openly”.
We Returned to the Object Lesson
Following the fight between two of my sons, I took them outside and had them hold the brick for a minute and remember that holding on to anger can cause our tempers to flare. We then set the bricks down gently and “gave God our burdens”. I must say, we will be returning to this activity, especially when the boys get physical with each other.
*Parenting Lessons Learned*
- My preschool boys clung to the phrase, “In your anger, do not sin.” While the brick lesson seemed to stick, the Proverb itself seemed too complex.
- Don’t ask a distraught preschooler to hold a brick – even for a second. It likely won’t end well. Maybe wait until the heat of the moment has passed…
What works for you when teaching your children the Bible? Are there family devotions that you are enjoying? We’d love to hear from you! We’re in this together, after all.
featured image by Michael Bently.