Building a Treasure Chest of Wisdom

Many of us can remember pithy sayings — those short direct comments that were full of meaning — from our parents or grandparents. My grandparents relied heavily on Poor Richard’s Almanac or apocryphal statements like: Cleanliness is next to Godliness. My mother seemed resistant to the idea of passing along wisdom, lest she impose her value system upon us. The resulting lack of wisdom left me and my siblings to learn much the hard way. As my wife often has said, “Common sense isn’t common.”
Perhaps that prompted me to develop my own everyday aphorisms and to collect pithy sayings from every sermon I heard or conference I attended. In the middle of taking notes, I would fill the margins with such things as:
  • “The Good is the Enemy of the Best” (good things can often crowd out our time so we never get to the best things God wants us to do).
  • “This book (the Bible) will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.”
  • “The non-Christian is not the enemy, he is the victim of the enemy.”
  • “We live in a Fallen World.” (Long before thinking Biblically was a thing. It came across as an amazing revelation at the time.)
So what can you do for your children so that they grow in wisdom and this wisdom gets passed along for generations? May I recommend building a Journal of Wisdom? Over the dinner table one night, you might want to ask the question: “What was one of the smartest things you remember grandma and grandpa telling you?” Or after a holiday time together or a similar gathering, jot down anything that was taught by your elders.
You may also want to write down surprising wisdom from your children. I remember one time when Linda and I were complaining about some people in church and Hope piped up, “Guys, they’re not perfect, they’re people!” We quoted this advice to each other many times over the years.

Of course, you will want to jot down your own aphorisms and copy down your favorite proverbs from the Bible. It would be amazing to have this Journal of Wisdom to pass along to future generations and allow your children and their families to add to it. I often think about putting all of these things in one source so that they can be referred to long after I’m gone.

Growing together, Christopher
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