Show Them the Fool
We’d all like our kids to grow wise. One great way to do that is to show them what foolish looks like by comparison—and hopefully not in our own daily words and actions.
Another approach is to find an opportunity to dwell on some of the descriptions of fools in the book of Proverbs. There’s a lot of them, and you might be surprised how much some kids will love to talk about them. By describing and discussing non-specific fools—and even comparing them with the foolish behavior of people in our own lives—you’ll be teaching wisdom without even trying.
We’ve included a few examples of fool verses from Proverbs in the talking points below, but you can find a whole bunch more by typing “fool” into the search box on BibleGateway.com.
Note: It would be really easy to turn a conversation like this into a scolding lecture as you and your child notice some similarities to their own youthful foolishness. Steer clear! They’ll get it. Let the Word do the work. Much more effective would be to humble yourself by finding examples of foolishness from your own life that fit with the proverbs discussed. They almost always remember—and often learn from—appropriate stories about how we blew it.
- How would you describe what it means to be a fool? What would you say is the difference between wisdom and foolishness? [Parent: No need to spell it out right way, but the big idea is that wisdom is about seeing things from God’s perspective and foolishness makes everything all about us—no matter what.]
- Proverbs 1:7 describe fools this way: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Why do you think anyone would ever despise wisdom or discipline?
- How important would you say it is to you to get wisdom in your life, to grow wiser and wiser? Why?
- How do you get wisdom?
- Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” What’s so wrong with just doing whatever feels right to you? Can you think of any examples from your friends’ lives where they chose to just do it their own way even though it was the wrong way?
- Where do you turn for advice when you need it? How do you know when you need it?
- Proverbs 12:16 says, “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Why do you think being easily offended is said to be foolish? Why would it be wiser to let some insults slide by without reacting to them?
- Can you think of any of your friends that always react harshly when they think they’ve been insulted or offended? How does that go for them, usually?
- Proverbs 14:9 says, “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.” Do you know anyone who would mock you for saying you were sorry for something or asking someone’s forgiveness? Why do you think fools see apologizing as worthless and weak?
- Proverbs 17:10 says, “A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.” Can you think of anyone you know who doesn’t learn not to do foolish things even after paying the consequences for those things over and over? Why would it be wiser to take rebukes seriously, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them?
- Can you think of some rebukes you or a friend have received recently? Did you or they respond with wisdom or foolishness? [Parent: Be sure to share examples from your own life, including examples of your own foolishness and the consequences that followed.]
- Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” Can you think of examples of people who just seem to love to hear themselves speak? Why is it more important to understand than to explain?
- These are just a few examples of how fools think and act. Do you see any common traits from these proverbs? [Parent: The most common trait in these is that the fool always makes it about him- or herself.]
- Would you say most of your friends are growing wiser or still making mostly foolish choices?
- Who would you say are your wisest two or three friends? Would they think of you as wise or as foolish?
- What could we do in our family to help us to grow more and more wise? What are some areas of foolishness we could work on as a family?