Get skillful and godly Wisdom, get under-standing (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation); do not forget and do not turn back the words of my mouth. Proverbs 4:5
For an apprentice or a person being “coached,” head knowledge makes up maybe a quarter of the experience. Until the heart plays its role and the body develops the muscle memory to do the task without thought, class is still in session.
So, today’s proverb reminds me of a “heart” account that sandwiched wisdom and understanding together for my eldest and middle son like nothing I could have ever taught them through “daddy” conversation.
When Caleb was about four and Nathaniel was all of nine, the younger of the two was pretty active, to say the least. So, Jen and I began to instruct Caleb in what we call the “buddy system.” Basically, he was to stay with Nathaniel at all times if we were helping the other children.
For the most part, it worked and Nathaniel had the right personality for the job. But one day, some wonderful adopted-grandparent neighbors of ours asked if they could take our kiddos to the zoo (we had six at the time). A bit reluctant at first, we eventually felt like the kids were up for the challenge.
Well, they had a great time and as the sun went down on the zoo, the crew headed to the van. That’s when Nathaniel noticed Caleb was missing. Turns out, he had managed to wiggle his hand out of whomever he was walking with and everyone thought he was with someone else in the party. In a flash, big brother Nate took off running to the gate that had already been locked, wiggled his way in somehow and started calling out to his little brother.
What probably seemed like an eternity to my boys was more like five or ten minutes, but when it was all said and done, everything we had told them about “staying together” was planted deep down in the core of their beings.
Those kinds of events aren’t fun for anyone involved, but it is situations just like that that tend to break open our stubborn resistance and reluctance to really go after wisdom and understanding with everything we’ve got.
For some of us, this proverb finds us with huge gashes in our heart over a failed relationship that we thought was perfect. And yet there was somebody there telling us, “Watch out! This deal isn’t what you think!”
For others, its family, friends, finances or felonies. Whatever the bought lesson, the hope is still the same. Until we want that wisdom and that understanding like Nate desperately wanted to find his little brother that day, it will continue to evade us.
By the way, guess where big brother found Mr. Caleb? In the hands of the park police, kicking, biting, and screaming his little head off. And if you know Caleb, you know he figured out he should have stayed with the group and that he was out-manned. Nevertheless, he did let these ol’ boys know he wasn’t going down without a fight!