Proverbs 23:15-16

My child, if your heart is wise,
then my heart also will be glad;
my soul will rejoice
when your lips speak what is right.

This verse resonates deep within my soul right now as a father. I do a lot of thinking about the kind of adults we are raising. I’m sure this is the case for many parents. If it’s not something you worry about it, you probably should start thinking about it. If you don’t come up with a plan, the chances of your kid growing into a great adult that makes tangible contributions to society aren’t very good. Good adults don’t happen by chance. Good adults happen because of good parenting.

But it can be something that causes a great deal of worry within the heart of a father or mother. “What kind of adult is my child going to grow up to be?”

As a parent, you see all the good and all the bad within your kid. You can see their strengths. But, you can also see their weaknesses. You know the areas they will succeed in, but you also know the areas that will be a struggle with them. And once you start to see some of their weaknesses, it’s really easy to let your mind play those out to their worst possible conclusion.

But, that doesn’t do much good. Worry is a motivator, but it’s not the best motivator. The best motivator is vision. Worry motivates out of fear. Vision motivates out of hope. When we are planning our children’s future, it should not be born out of worrying about the kind of person they are going to be. It should be born out of the kind of person we hope they will be.

When our parenting decisions are based around trying to keep our kids from becoming something bad, we’re just teaching them about things to avoid. We’re just teaching them about things not to do. We’re basically telling them all the places not to look.

When our parenting decisions are based around trying to move our kids toward a vision for their lives, we’re teaching them about the things they should move toward. We’re teaching about the things to do. We’re telling them where to look.

Telling you’re kids where to look is much better than trying to tell them all the places they shouldn’t look. There are countless things they shouldn’t do, and shouldn’t look at. So they will never be focused. They will never be determined. But, when we tell them where they should look, they can be focused. They can be determined. They can be driven.

So, what should the vision for our kids’ lives be? If nothing else, we should hope they will be wise. For them to be wise, we intentionally have to lead them toward being wise. It won’t happen by chance. Trust me, I’ve known so many old people who are not wise. Wisdom isn’t a given, it’s a pursuit.

As for me, when I grow old and gray, I hope I’m sitting around wondering how my kids got to be so wise.