The word “wisdom” appears in the Bible over 200 times. God makes it very clear that He expects his people to be wise. Unfortunately, your children will confuse knowledge for wisdom. Experts even write that tech savvy is a replacement for wisdom in the minds of many people today – especially to the young. Those who believe knowledge (or the ability to quickly access knowledge) is wisdom are doomed to a lifetime of unnecessary mistakes – often producing negative consequences for themselves and others.
There are some fun things you can do to help your children understand the difference between knowledge and wisdom, as well as how to use wisdom to make better choices.
Tell or read your children passages about Solomon’s wisdom – 1 Kings 3:1-24, 4:29-34, 10:1-13. Ask them to tell the stories in their own words. Point out that even though Solomon asked for wisdom, he also sought knowledge. Knowledge and wisdom are related, but not always synonymous. Explain that it is believed Solomon wrote most of the book of Proverbs – a book of wisdom. Yet, Solomon did not always use the wisdom God had given him. He made some very unwise choices during his lifetime which created negative consequences for himself, his children and his kingdom.
Have your children look up the definitions of knowledge and wisdom. Can they explain the difference? Point out that while knowledge is a building block of wisdom, it is not wisdom itself – in fact some knowledge would be very unwise to use. Wisdom is using the knowledge we have access to in order to make the best possible choices. For example, in the story of the women arguing over the baby, Solomon knew how to make a decision. He knew how to give the baby to one of the women. Solomon’s wisdom was in saying something that would help him to know which woman was the real mother. He had no intention of hurting the baby, but threatening to do so revealed which woman’s baby it was.
Ask your children to think of examples today of times when people confuse knowledge and wisdom. This is a great time to point out that although they may eventually have more “book” knowledge than you, you will always possess wisdom from life experience that they will not have yet. (Granted, not all older people are wise, but life experience does often gift one with additional wisdom.)
Point out that asking God and other people to share their wisdom with them is important. Any supposed wisdom given by people should be compared to scripture, as God is the source of all wisdom. Ask your children why people often refuse to seek or heed wisdom. What consequences do they suffer? How often do your children find themselves relying on their own knowledge rather than seeking to learn from the wisdom of others? How often do they refuse to heed the advice of wise, godly people… or even God himself? What consequences have they suffered as a result? Be prepared to give examples from your own life – especially if your kids are in denial.
It is important to continue the discussion periodically by doing fun activities to help your children understand the importance of knowledge and wisdom. Here are some fun ideas to get you started.
- Reading mystery stories for children. (One Minute Mysteries are quick reads.) As your children attempt to solve them, ask them the roles knowledge and wisdom play in solving a crime. Point out that the detective needed knowledge to understand the various clues, but wisdom in applying that knowledge to solve the mystery.
- Challenge your kids to learn how to do something new. Make sure it is difficult enough that they will struggle without advice from someone with wisdom in that area. Have them try to do it without instructions first and then with the help of other resources like books or YouTube.
- Have your children find a daily news story that would have been very different if the people involved had sought and heeded wise advice.
- Encourage your children to create scripture art that reminds them to seek and heed God’s wisdom.
- Read a chapter or Proverbs every day for a month. Have your children each choose a verse from the daily chapter that they will use to make them wiser.
- Have your children interview senior adults at church about wisdom. What wisdom was contained in the answers the seniors gave? How might their lives be different if they did or did not heed the wisdom of these older adults?
- Have your children practice finding and vetting answers to their questions online. How can they make sure they are eliminating sites where the knowledge and wisdom are false? Teach them various techniques to vet online answers before accepting them as true and/or wise.
Have fun with it, but help your children see how important it is to humbly seek God’s wisdom for their lives and heed it. It could make all of your lives better.