Gangs are a threat to the young. In Chicagoland we heard gunshots regularly when we lived off of Howard Street just outside ‘The Jungle’ in the north. On the southside and near west, the gang warfare is more virulent. Why? Gangs promise security and respect. Gangs give children who feel undervalued a sense of value. There is financial reward for being part of a Chicagoland gang like the Gangsta Disciples, The Kripps or The Bloodz (excuse the spelling, I hear the names but don’t know their spelling). Drug money can fund parties and ‘bling’ that staying in school delays. Youth frequently wants to take short cuts. Why stay in school? Why listen to old folks?
Wisdom starts with parents who talk with their children frequently from birth about what is wise and what is foolish. It is not nagging correction, Proverbs warns strongly against that. Parents who are wise create children who are wise when they prayerfully and lovingly form a strong relationship with their children. Within a strong, loving relationship the parents lay out what is wise by saying it and living it. What does a good relationship look like? Look at how Mum and Dad love each other. What is good financial wisdom? Look at how Mum and Dad manage their finances and have them teach you to do the same. How important is God? Look how he is central to everything that Mum and Dad do. Parents set up patterns that children walk in. If parents show that family is not important, their children will create a family from their peers and shut out the wisdom that parents bring to the table too late. Do not let your children try and create ways to become an adult too soon. They will create a trap that they themselves will fall into.
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.
- Who teaches children wisdom according to this passage?
- What kind of people will entice children if they do not learn wisdom from their parents?
- What do you think that violent gangs of teenagers would do in ancient Israel?
- What do modern cliques, gangs, or advertisers promise preteens?
- How are you investing in your children with a wisdom that is from God? How are you becoming wise enough to teach others about things that really matter?