Episode 81: Helping Our Kids Find Wisdom

In this episode we look at books that teach wisdom for kids, teens, and adults. 

Books Discussed in This Episode:

Transcript with Links:

Welcome to “Books that Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion, leading to teachable moments with our kids. For January, I wanted to talk a little bit about grace and mercy and wisdom. And so today we’re going to focus on wisdom. There are some really good books that we can use to help our children learn the wisdom from scripture–And then of course, just folk wisdom that we have from elders and those who are teachers–And then also some books that will help us as parents to have wisdom in raising our children.

So I want to start with a really wonderful book. It’s called Where Is Wisdom: A Treasure Hunt Through God’s Wondrous Word, Inspired by Job 28, written by Scott James, and illustrated by Hein Zaayman. This is such a beautiful book. The illustrations are really gorgeous. I just want to read in the center of the book. I love this book as an adult. I think it’s a great book for adults as well as children, but of course, it’s a picture book written for children, but it really is lovely. And it says in the middle of the book, “The treasures of earth have been given to mankind, not to make us rich, but to show us how generous the Giver can be. As good as these gifts are, God tells us to seek an even greater treasure: wisdom. But where is wisdom found? Where can we dig up understanding? Treasure hunters have searched high and low, but they do not know the way.” The first part of the book, it talks about the treasures that we find on earth and the wonderful blessings God has given us in creation. And then the rest of the book is talking about how we find true wisdom through God.

Another really nice book, and it also has a coloring book and activity book to go with it, is Proverbs for Kids: Biblical Wisdom for Children. Bible Chapters for Kids is the series of books. It’s illustrated and written by Agnes de Bezenac and is co-written by Salem de Bezenac. It explains a proverb and then gives the verse from Proverbs. it’s a great little book. And these are written for very young children under seven years of age. So it’s just an excellent resource.

And then another wonderful resource, if you are studying the Proverbs, is called Scribeables for Kids. 100 Days of Wisdom from Proverbs: Read It, Copy It, Follow It. And it’s from the NASB. A great way for them to practice their scripture and learning it is to write the verses out. On each page, after the verse, it has “read it” like, for instance, it says, “Proverbs 1:7, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” And then it says, “copy it.” And it has lines for you to copy the verse. Then it has “follow it” so that the child can write down how they followed the verse that day. And so it has one for 100 days, and I think it would just be wonderful for all of us to do as we’re looking at wisdom and wanting to grow in wisdom this year. We know that wisdom originates with God, and He has promised us, if we ask, He will give us His wisdom. And certainly as parents, we need wisdom in today’s world to know how to raise our children and to help them follow God faithfully.

When we think of wisdom, especially earthly wisdom, I think of fables because each fable teaches a lesson. So you have Aesop’s fables, and there are some really beautiful versions/collections of his stories that you can get now. Shop around and see what you can find. One is called Unwitting Wisdom: An Anthology of Aesop’s Fables. I have a really beautiful book of Aesop’s fables. So look in the show notes for a couple of those versions.

Another one I love are the African fables from Anansi the Spider.[Anasi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott, Anasi Brings Stories to the World: Children’s Fables from West Africa by Dynast Amir and illustrated by Yashar Clemons]. I think they’re just really fun. I used to love to read those as a child, and you can get those online for free just by looking on websites, but it’s really fun to have some of the books with the really cool illustrations from Africa. They’re just a lot of fun.

Then as parents, we of course long for wisdom to help us in our parenting. And I think, especially today as our children face so many challenges, that we really need to look at some great books that can help us to navigate parenting. And one of them that I just love, and I also subscribe to their newsletter is Mama Bear Apologetics. The first book that came out was Mama Bear Apologetics, Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies. And this one was written by Hillary Morgan Ferrer. These books are so well-written. They also have a study guide to go along with this book now if you want to use it in your women’s ministry or a parenting class to go over together, but they’ve come out with a new book that I think is a very important one for this generation. And it’s called Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality: Empowering Your Kids to Understand and Live Out God’s Design. I think it does a great job of tackling some of the issues and questions that our children are facing today. There are some other great books along these lines that are available, but these are, right now, two of my favorites. I’ve been reading them, and I think you will enjoy them and find them extremely helpful and wise, and really good for answering questions your children may have.

There’s another book I think is really important. And this one would be for your teenage children, really for your children who are getting ready to go off to college, this would be excellent. And it would be a wonderful book to read with your children. And it’s called Doubtless: Because Faith Is Hard by Shelby Abbot. This allows your kids to question and to really dig into Christianity and see what the Bible’s all about–what Christian life is all about. Shelby Abbot was a guest on Alyssa Childer’s podcast recently. You can find it on YouTube–really good discussion. He was a Cru campus minister and has been involved in ministry since he was in college and has seen some of his friends walk away from their faith. He asserts that part of the problem is we don’t answer our kids’ questions. And if we really want them to grow in wisdom and understanding and faith, we have to allow them to have questions and to carefully and thoughtfully answer those questions and not be afraid of their doubt. And if we don’t know how to answer their questions, then to find someone who can help us, a minister who can help us, or even in some situations, a counselor who can help us. Our children are facing a world that is very different from what we faced when we were growing up. At least it seems to me to be very different. With this generation not being raised in a biblical understanding and this being more of a non-Christian generation, we really need to be ready to give an answer for the faith that we have and especially with our own children. And so these books can really help us navigate those waters and help our children as they’re getting into their teenage years and college and to try to do the best we can. And then of course, to cover all of it with prayer, praying for our children is the best thing we can do for them. And then sharing our faith with them in a real and genuine open conversation. As we talk about wisdom, that’s what I hope we can do is to approach all of these things with grace, with wisdom and with understanding. I think the reason I started this podcast is because I feel like it is so important that we keep the conversations open, whatever our families are going through, whatever our children are going through, whether it’s spiritual or physical, or just trying to find their path and what they want to do with their lives. Keeping those conversations open is just imperative. It’s so important for us to be able to communicate, to answer questions, to give wisdom and advice, and to guide our children, and to where they’re hurting and what their questions are and what’s going on. There’s a lot happening and we need to keep those conversations open.

I want to end today with a couple different devotional thoughts. One is very short it’s from the Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago. I love the little devotional on page 65. It’s called “Foolish Fish.” “What if a fish one day decided, ‘I’ve had enough of being told what I can and can’t do and only being allowed in water, I want to be free. I’m going to find my fortune on land.’ And then jumped out of the water and onto the riverbank. How far do you think that foolish fish would get? It would wriggle and flap its fins, but of course, fins don’t work on land. It would lie there, gasping for air, and pretty soon it would die. How free is that fish on land? Not very. The fish is not built for land, and we are not built to be away from our Heavenly Father.” John 8:36 in the New Living Translation says, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” And I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that and teaching our kids to be who God created them to be. And we were never meant to live away from God and His ways and His wisdom.

And then for our very young children, God’s Blessings Day by Day: My Daily Devotional for Kids. And this is from week 21 on Tuesday. It’s page 1 23. The title is “Listen to the Lord.” The scripture is Psalm 111:10, “Wisdom begins with respect for the Lord. Those who obey His orders have good understanding.” And this particular devotional is written by Christian Lloyd from First Baptist Church Lawton in Lawton, Oklahoma. “Have you ever met a soldier who was in the military? Soldiers are trained to be strong and brave, but all soldiers have a person who is in charge of them. That person tells them exactly what they need to do. And the soldiers do it. They don’t argue. They obey immediately. It is important for their safety that they obey. The Bible tells us that we need to listen to God and do what He tells us to do. God is in charge of us, and He watches out for our safety like soldiers. We are not to argue, and we are to obey immediately. We show God respect when we obey Him, God, please teach me to hear Your instructions and do what You tell me to do. I will listen and obey God.” I think this helps us to talk about where wisdom comes from, and that in obeying God, we are showing great wisdom, and we are exercising the wisdom that we have learned.

Thank you for joining us for “Books that Spark,” a podcast, celebrating books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussions as we disciple our children and help them follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you would like to join my mailing list and get my monthly newsletter, you can find me at TerrieHellardBrown.com. That is also where you can find the notes for this podcast. I would love to hear from you! Feel free to comment on this podcast. I respond to every comment. I love to hear from you and hear what you’re using to help you navigate being a parent and helping your children find God’s wisdom in their lives.

Your Host:

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.

Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.

Her blog posts are published each Thursday and discuss living as a disciple of Christ while discipling our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ.

For more information, visit her website at terriehellardbrown.com

Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.

Her motto is “Growing older is inevitable; growing up is optional” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.

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