Maintain Discretion and Preserve Wisdom

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This Proverb talks about maintaining knowledge and a charge to preserve wisdom.  One may think it is just a request to pass down the knowledge gained, but it goes deeper than that.

Proverbs 5:1-2: “My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
    turn your ear to my words of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
    and your lips may preserve knowledge.

The Need to Preserve Wisdom

If you spend any time reviewing wise sayings and proverbs as we have here, then you have noticed how timeless it is.  The wisdom we heard yesterday applies today even though our situation and context are completely different.  Thus, it does not hurt to go back to the wise sayings we heard in our youth.  This reflection can provide new insight into our grown up problems.  In the reverse of this situation, we can take wisdom we picked up as adults and apply it to childish situations.  Therefore, even our adult understanding can help our kids.

Never Forget Why You Do Something

Another reason to preserve wisdom we have learned along the way is to keep it useful.  We are creatures of habit.  Once we take action on a regular basis, we often continue doing it.  This habit may even occur when it makes no sense.  Have you ever checked your watch even though you are not wearing one or reached for your phone when it is not there?  When we regularly go back to the source of our wisdom, it can help us remember why we do things.  This freshening of our insight may then be applied to new problems.  Times and situations change.  Therefore, the wisdom we have and how to implement it also change.

Teaching Children this Wisdom

This bit of wisdom is easier to teach older children.  Very young ones (under five or six years old) are too close to the first time they learned anything.  As they age, they will grow beyond simple things and not think about the source material on a regular basis.  An excellent example of fading wisdom is phonics.  Children are taught the sound or sounds of each letter of the alphabet.

In normal reading and speaking the kids probably give no thought to the individual sounds that make up a word.  However, when they see a new word, then they are likely to fall back on that original knowledge.  They return to the source to try to apply it to new words.  In the same way, the wisdom we learn must be preserved to utilize it fully.  Wisdom is not a one and done bit of knowledge.  It must be maintained and given attention.  Thus, we can use its full value.

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