Teaching Through the Lens of Proverbs

I’ve always had an enthusiastic heart tug towards teaching middle school health education. In fact, I’ve always had a strong desire to teach in any way possible, not just in a school setting. I think this correlates with my innate love for the book of Proverbs. The first chapter of Proverbs actually describes the key concepts and purpose of this book.

“for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior; doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young– let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.”

– Proverbs 1:2-6

Um, hello! Perfection. Proverbs tell us how to accept teachings and discern their validity, how to live morally, and how to give guidance and instruction. Absolutely suitable for the teacher-to-be’s out there! Let’s dive deeper, shall we?

The main thing I learned at a church service is that wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are typically together, it’s the peanut butter, jelly, and chips kind of sandwich. It’s hard to have one without the other, each ingredient enhances one another. These ingredients are laid on the path of life, ready to be taken and preserved.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

– Proverbs 2:6, 9:10

For the longest time I didn’t even know the definite meaning of wisdom. It’s like when you know the concept of it, you can use it sentences, but you never took it any deeper. Wise: having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgement” (Google). It’s important to see in this verse that the Lord gives wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. There’s no specific experience we can go through or age to be reached that depicts when we gain each of these. Step 1? Read His Word and delight in Him.

“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

– Proverbs 2:10-11

We must hold onto His Word, store it in our hearts, and live by it in every situation. This is wisdom. “For those who find me find life…” (Proverbs 8:35). Part of accepting God’s Word and teachings is also being willing to refinement– “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray” (Proverbs 10:17). I think these verses are so powerful, especially for teachers. My intention as a health teacher is not just to educate my students on the content, but to model a holistically healthy lifestyle.

Proverbs has so many short sentences that speak volumes to me. These verses should be in the front of every teachers mind. Here are just a few, take what you will.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” How easy is it for us to give in to frustration when a student asks a question to which we’ve already stated the answer 5 times?

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Let’s not give in to our emotions, we must not get flustered and worried when our students’ learning isn’t on our time line. Patience is a fruit of wisdom.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” It’s time to be passionate, energetic, and whole-hearted about what we teach!

Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” We all have encountered a child or student who hurls a “humorous” insult at us; my favorite prayer in times like this is for God to grant me a tough skin and a soft heart. Don’t confuse it with soft skin and a tough heart.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” The Lord wants us to give what we don’t have– give up our time and resources for that student who aches to comprehend or desires attention that may not be provided at home.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” As teachers, we have the power to positively steer our students toward beneficial living and life-long learning!

And my favorite of all time, “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” If I could live by one verse, it might be this one. There’s so much hidden content in it that requires the reliance of the Lord as well as my intentions to pursue my faith. It’s not about what we teach, it’s how we teach it. Easier said than done? For sure.

I have taken the slightest amount of content of Proverbs and summarized how it can apply to my life as a teacher in the classroom, a role model to my residents, or simply an influencer on social media. How can you apply God’s teachings to your life?



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