Odd Moments and Scraps of Wisdom

“What we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments…”

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6

It’s a big world, at times a scary world and some day I’ll watch as my son steps out into that world. My son is only 1-year-old, so I have a bit of time before this happens but when I sit and think about all the things I want to teach him first, 18-years doesn’t seem like enough time.

I have given a lot of thought to some of the “big” character traits that I want to teach my son, such as:

  • Empathy
  • True masculinity
  • Humility
  • How to be a gentleman
  • Honor
  • Respect
  • Faith

I want to pass these bits of wisdom along to my son but the question I had for years was, how do I teach these things? It’s not as if I can sit my son down and have a lesson on empathy. I don’t believe that is how these types of lessons really stick with us.

One day the answer just stuck me, it’s so simple, and like most things, my answer came from the Bible. Throughout new testament scripture Jesus, the greatest father figure, imparts deep wisdom to his disciples and he does it by using everyday situations.

For example, if you read the story of the widow’s mite you will see that Jesus was sitting in the temple watching the scene before him when he calls to his disciples and uses the scene to teach them a lesson on giving, hypocrisy, and feigned piety.

Jesus didn’t wake the disciples up one day and say, hey I have a lesson to teach you. Instead, he was always looking for those everyday moments he could use to teach an important lesson.

As dads, we must do the same thing. We most keep an eye out for opportunities to impart a bit of wisdom that we want to pass down to our children.

The author, Umberto Eco said it best when he said, “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”

There is one thing that we have to remember, in order to use everyday moments to teach are children, we have to be present as much as possible.

If Jesus hadn’t gone to the temple with the disciples because he was too tired or if he had been distracted by something else, he would have missed that opportunity too and a valuable lesson could have gone untaught.

I know, he was Jesus and he would never have missed an opportunity. But we are just normal dads and too often we miss our chance to impart a little wisdom.

So the next time your kid asks you to take a walk or play on the floor. Put down your phone, stop what you are doing and spend some time with them. You never know when the odd teachable moment may present itself.


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