Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
Upon the older generation is set a heavy responsibility. Inevitably, a mature father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother has more knowledge than a child or teenager. But knowledge can be dangerous, as Spurgeon indicates. Knowledge does nothing, unless it is applied rightly. We have towering knowledge – about this world, about spiritual matters, about human nature, and practically every other subject under the sun. This is simply what the experience of life brings.
How are we applying this knowledge? Our young children are watching. Young children copy what their parents do – dad angrily swears when he stubs his toe, and the child will repeat that curse word for months. One young couple related to me an argument they had one day, and how their toddler instantly sensed the tension, stopped playing with his/her toys, and looked at dad and mom with concern. Young children are watching.
How are we applying this knowledge? Our teenagers are watching. No, they do not show it during the teenage years. But it seems to me that teenagers are just as much a “sponge” as a young child. Likely, when they become mature adults, they will conduct themselves according to the models they had growing up. The way we deal with discipline, the manner in which we act in a frustrating moment, our work ethic, our dealings in marriage – all of it. Our teenagers are watching.
Adults, we are at a stage of life in which we have much knowledge. Are we applying it rightly, with God’s Word as our standard?
And young people, look to your parents, teachers, ministers, and elders – they do have much wisdom, and we should observe them in order to pattern ourselves after their godly example. This is what we find, at least in part, in Ephesians 6:1: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” Obey them, why? Part of the reason is that they are wise, and we must learn from them. God sets the older generation over us so that they might teach us. The aged women, living holy lives, teach the young women good things (Titus 2:3). Implied, too, is that the aged men teach the younger men these good things (Titus 2:1). Let’s take heed to this instruction!
Young people, are you watching?