"Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life."
My dad could not wait to have a head full of gray hair. He spent many years studying the book of Proverbs and highlighting the different characters laid out in the scriptures. Most notable: the wise man. As my father read the book of Proverbs, he would mark every time he came across a highlighted character: the wise man, the fool, etc. He developed a system to abbreviate the qualities since they occur so often in the scriptures. By marking them, he could see the patterns and repetition of each in the passages he read. He took this time to gain understanding so that he might change his foolish life into a life marked with wisdom. I think that is what made him so approachable to everyone he met - he knew he was a fool, and nearly boasted about it. How is this honoring for me to say this about my father? Honestly, he boasted because he knew the power of the One who had transformed him from his foolishness and into a man marked by right living. He couldn't boast in himself, because he had nothing to do with it.
When he married my mother, he played a character - the good Baptist boy. A few years later the truth was revealed, and God worked a miracle in their marriage as my father became a believer, and then fell back in love with my mother all over again. His love now flowed from the character God cultivated within him and not the character he failed to be.
Understanding the importance of character in a spouse, my father assigned his 6th grade Sunday school class the task of scouring the book of Proverbs for qualities of a wise man (or woman). The goal was not to find the perfect person, rather to know what wisdom looked like lived out in a life seeking the Lord. He paid $.25 per line item, and you know we made a lot of money off of that one. At least I thought it was! Would you spend $100 to train your child to identify wisdom? Numerous students from that class referenced this activity as they announced to my father that they were getting married, and they'd found a godly spouse. Myself included.I would do well to learn from my father:
- Help my children observe what a wise man looks like in scripture.
- Encourage application of the Truth by connecting study with life (like character qualities of a godly spouse).
- Boast about my weaknesses so that God can be glorified for His transforming power in my life.
You might also enjoy: How My Father Cultivated My Faith: He Exposed Me to Great Men of Faith
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.