I have a decision to make about one of my children. Nothing big. Just a decision that will affect the rest of her life. Just a decision that will affect her level of confidence, her outlook, her sense of self. She's 14 going on 15. Ask yourself this: what was the most pivotal time period in your life? What time period would you most want to re-do and get right? Where did the hurt and handicaps come in? Chances are it was the period in your life between age 12 and 20: the teenage years.
My husband and I need to decide where our daughter should go to school next year. Where should she spend her high school years? Should we continue homeschooling? Should we try the local but humongous public high school in town? If we could come up with the money, should we go back to private Christian school?
It's not a question, so much, of where would she get the best education. Your teenage years are not just about getting the best education. Ask anyone who had a hard time as a teenager- "Yes you felt suicidal and you had no friends but did you get a good education?!!" and they'll look at you like the nutcase you are.
Healthy minded people value education as much as they value a sound mind and an active, normal social life. Navigate the teenage years, again, and tell me what you want to get right this time. Do you want to memorize more Shakespeare quotations or do you want to be the kid with the friends and the smile on his face? Do you want a higher GPA or do you want to make better choices in relationships and involvements? Do you want more courses this time, or more positive experiences where you grew in confidence and strength of purpose?
Is it just me, or were our teenage years more powerful, problematic, and pivotal than our parents first realized? Back when I was a teenager, everyone went to public school. You just put up with what ever was going to come your way. No parent wrestled with choices of education and things-that-can-go-wrong like we do now.
Of course the catastrophes, back then, were somewhat limited to teenage pregnancy and drug addiction. Now you can add in a huge increase in teenage suicide, anorexia and bulimia, cutting and self-mutilation, all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases, bullying to the point of inducing suicide. Oh, it's a beautiful life.
Now I'm not saying this runs rampant in every high school. There's a lot of wonderful things happening in school as well. It's just that there's a lot we parents see and there's a lot we don't see or don't hear about. You really need the wisdom of Solomon to help navigate your teen through the teenage years.
You need to be pro-active and discerning- but you mustn't be paranoid and overly protective. You need to challenge your kid to stand up and grow in confidence- but you also need to know when the bruised reed is breaking. I know so many parents where their child broke under the strain of something, and they did not see it happening till the final crack.
Apparently this wisdom of Solomon is something we can also have- according to James 1. If we lack wisdom, we're supposed to ask God for it. He's supposed to give it to us- and give it to us without ridiculing us or mocking us for how uninformed and unprepared we are to deal with things. The one caveat is that we are supposed to ask in such a way that our belief of receiving it is evident. No fooling God.
This kind of wisdom we are asking for is not a mystical crazy eight ball that helps us make our choices with a flick of the wrist. It's a practical wisdom. It's prudence (an old fashioned word). It's having the right application of knowledge. It's insight into the situation you are facing.
It's not just the teenage years that are so critical. Anytime you are dealing with a situation of many sides, many challenges, many chances for error- you need wisdom. You need it badly.
I often think of King Solomon and all his splendor (and all his wives- no wonder he needed wisdom). I think of the times in which we live. I think of all the choices and all the catastrophes and crises that people face. I think of how we need wisdom more than ever. And then I contemplate how much wisdom do I already have? Is wisdom really even quantifiable? Can I even tell when I am operating in wisdom?
These are the questions I have that I'm not even sure Solomon himself could answer. I need to make some decisions. I'd like to know the future outcome of what I decide before I decide it- but that's not gonna happen. So what I'll do for now is keep holding my hand out, my head up, my eyes open, and ask and search for that wisdom like a hound on a rabbit scent.
The hope I have is in the generosity of God's plan to give that wisdom. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
I think God's going to hear from me a lot more than He ever did from Solomon.