Wisdom (2 of 3): Telltale Behavior | Devotions with Dad

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Wisdom (2 of 3): Telltale Behavior

For dad only:

Standing on Another’s Shoulders

My brother drove my family and his to the top of Pike’s Peak. I did not enjoy going up or going down, but the view from the top took my breath away (so did the cold wind). Standing on top of the world like that, you quickly forget how you got there. Too many children forget to look down and see who got them to where they are.

The view from the top

Too many of us have grown up in the era of building self-esteem and self-confidence into our children. This well-meaning approach, creates such arrogance in children that they think they are an end and beginning in themselves. Kids grow up thinking their life is their own, not realizing many others contributed to who and what they are.

Jesus acknowledged His source, giving honor both to His mother and declaring that all He was and did came from the Heavenly Father. Wise children do the same.

Balancing act

To help your kids get a steady understanding of whose shoulders they stand on, mention the shoulders you stand on. Tell them about the values and principles you learned from your parents. Name your mentors and how they have contributed to your life. Without saying it directly, you can convey to them a sense of community instead of individuality.

Perhaps you should pause for a moment now and thank the Lord for the footholds He has given you in life. Pray for those mentors who are still living. Ask Him to give you a strong back for the children and other disciples who will stand on your shoulders. Pray that your children, too, will give others a worthwhile boost in life.



Read this to the kids:

Tattling and Too Much Talking

“So you got Carter to rake the leaves?” Mom asked on their way home.

“Yep,” Rusty said.

“I thought it was his idea,” Misty asked.

“It was. I asked him what would make his parents happy, and he said they wanted him to rake the leaves.”

“I am proud of you, Son,” Dad said. “You helped draw the wisdom out of your friend. They’re going to meet us out at my Dad’s place. I think Doug and his wife will have a lot in common with my parents who can help them grow in the Lord. And… you and Carter can take turns on the four-wheeler.”

“Oh cool,” Rusty said, sitting up more. He looked out the window for a minute and then said, “You should have seen what he was going to do back at his house, though…”

“What?” Misty asked.

“He had these ketchup packets and he wanted to bust them all over the—”

“Uh, Rusty?” Dad interrupted. “Do you really need to tell us this?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did your friend do something wrong?”

“He wanted to.”

“But if he did not do it and no one got hurt or could get hurt, you do not need to tell everyone about it. You covered his shame by steering him to do something righteous. Don’t undo your good work by shaming him now.”

Rusty sat quietly for a minute. “Sorry, guys. I did not mean to make Carter look bad. I wasn’t even thinking about what I was saying. I guess I was tattling, wasn’t I?”

“We understand,” Dad said. “Remember Proverbs twenty nineteen? ‘He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets…’”

They drove in silence for a minute or two, then Mom said, “Rusty, it is important to warn others if someone is going to do something that could hurt themselves or somebody else. Otherwise, let their own sins find them out instead of you having to get yourself mixed up in it.”

“Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference,” Misty said.

“Yes, it is,” Dad agreed. “That is when you have to ask yourself, ‘Am I going to tell someone about this because I love this person or because I want to hurt them?’ Love won’t try to damage a person’s reputation but it will try to protect them from doing something really dumb.”

“So if I was going to put a firecracker in a gas tank, Misty should tell someone, right?” Rusty asked.

“Do what?” Mom said, turning to look at him.

“I wouldn’t do that, Mom. I was just sayin’.”

“I hope not.”

“Yes,” Dad said, “to answer your question, Rusty. She should tell others out of love for you.”

“What if I was taking cookies without permission?” Rusty asked. “Should Misty tell on me?”

Dad sighed. “Well, Son, I believe you would not deceive us like that. You have two good parents, though, and Misty does not have to be a third one. She should mind her own business and let us handle it. We are not stupid and you can be sure your sins will find you out.”

“How do you know when we do wrong?” Rusty asked.

Mom answered, “I have eyes in the back of my head.”

Dad laughed. “We know you, Son. We know your heart. We watch to see if you are growing in wisdom or going down a path of foolishness. Your behavior shows us what kind of person you are.”

•       •       •

At Grandpa’s house, the adults got to talking soon and the kids stood around waiting to ride the four-wheeler. After the adults had talked for a few minutes, Carter said to Rusty, “Aren’t we going to ride your grandpa’s four-wheeler? I thought that is what we came for.”

Rusty nodded. “He didn’t forget, just wait.”

“I want to ride it now. What are we waiting for?”

“Hang in there, we’ll do it,” Rusty said and leaned up against the fence to watch the cows.

“You have got a fine young man there,” they heard Grandpa say to Carter’s dad.

“Yes, he’s a good boy,” the man said.

Carter rolled his eyes at Rusty. “I don’t like being called a ‘boy.’”

Rusty shrugged.

“Here,” Grandpa said, “come with me to the barn. I want you and your little guy there—what’s his name?”


“Skylar? All righty, Skylar, are you ready to take a ride around the field with your dad?”

Skylar shook his head. “I want to drive it myself.”

Grandpa laughed. “Someday you might. For now, I think your dad wants to ride.”

Carter’s dad and Skylar went for a drive around the field, taking care to follow the tractor paths through the long grass. Grandpa’s grass was long and had light-brown seed heads on top. Soon he would harvest the seed off the grass and sell it.

Part way through the drive, Skylar started crying. Soon he was wailing and begging to go back to his mother. His dad drove him back slowly and the boy climbed down, wailing and sobbing to his mom.

Now, it was Carter’s turn.

“All right young man,” Grandpa said, strapping the helmet on him. “Are you ready to drive on your own?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now be careful and don’t do anything silly.”

“Okay.” Carter put on the helmet.

“Oh, he’s a good boy,” Carter’s dad said.

Grandpa showed Carter the throttle and the brake. Carter gave it gas and took off. Soon he was going pretty quickly across the field. Then he turned into the ripe grass and gave it throttle until he was going really fast across the field.

“He should not go that fast,” Dad said.

Rusty jumped up and down, waving his arms to get Carter’s attention.

Carter’s dad also tried to wave him down, yelling, “Slow down!”

Rusty saw Carter’s helmet turn toward them, but he held the throttle down and only went faster.

Rusty yelled, “There is an old log in that long grass—he won’t see it!” He took off running toward Carter, trying to get his attention again.

Carter flew through the long grass, knocking seed heads into the air and leaving two deep ruts where his tires plowed through the standing fescue.

Suddenly, the four-wheeler hit the hidden log, flipping the back wheels up in the air. Rusty watched Carter fly through the air and disappear into the long grass. He ran toward his friend while Dad and Carter’s dad came right behind him.



Now discuss it!

What did Rusty learn about talking behind a person’s back?


When should you tell an adult what another child is about to do?

When they could hurt themselves or someone else.


Read Proverbs 20:19. Why is tattling as damaging as the wrong things others are doing?

Because you start gossiping and hurting others’ reputations. Soon, you start looking for their faults and stop seeing their good qualities. No one trusts a gossip or a tattler.


While kids may talk good and tell others they are Christians, what does Proverbs 20:11 say others will see?


What wrong actions was Rusty displaying while riding with his family over to Grandpa’s house?


How did Carter’s actions show his character, even though his Dad said he was a good boy?


How have you set a bad example before even though you thought you were a good person?


What behavior do you need to change so others can see Jesus in you?



Read God’s Word together:

The Boy Jesus Proved by Actions


The child grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was with him.

Every year Jesus’ parents would go to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When he was 12 years old, they went as usual. When the festival was over, they left for home.

The boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it. They thought that he was with the others who were traveling with them. After traveling for a day, they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.

Three days later, they found him in the temple courtyard. He was sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions. His understanding and his answers stunned everyone who heard him.

When his parents saw him, they were shocked. His mother asked him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been worried sick looking for you!”

Jesus said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you realize that I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant.

Then he returned with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and maturity. He gained favor from God and people.

(Luke 2:40-52, God’s Word)



Let’s talk about it!

From Luke 2:52, what did people think about the boy Jesus?


When He was 12 years old, he stayed in a strange town, on his own, took care of Himself, and did not get into trouble. Are you as mature as Jesus was at His age?


What actions did Jesus display in the Temple? What did this tell His parents about Him?


What do you do? Are you more likely to be interested in toys and games than the Bible? What does that say about you? What would you like change?


Role play: You have a friend who does not know Jesus like you do. You want to tell them about the joy of knowing Jesus and the power of His Spirit, but they have other plans. They are chewing some gum to stick in a mean girl’s hair. Will you help? What if they were going to pull a prank on a weird kid that annoys you? What if they were sneaking your favorite cookie without their parent’s permission? How well could you tell them about the difference the Lord Jesus has made in your life after doing something wrong?


What if your friend brags about being a good Christian, but you saw him reading a comic book hidden in his Bible at church? Will you tell others what he is doing? What do you learn from his actions? What if he is passing around a bad magazine with evil pictures in it? Should you tell someone?

The comic book is only hurting him because he is missing out on the Word of God. The nasty magazine will damage other children’s minds and he must be stopped. Tell an adult immediately.


Memorize it!

Proverbs 20:11


Even a child is known by his doings,

whether his work be pure,

and whether it be right.

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