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17 Proverbs to Share with Your Kids

17 Proverbs to Share with Your Kids

When we think of character traits we hope to instill in our children as they grow, wisdom is a high priority. Wisdom is the practical nuts and bolts of life that keeps us out of trouble, helps us prosper, and sows good seeds. In order to teach our children wisdom, the best place to go is to the man whom God gave the gift of wisdom, King Solomon, and the book he wrote in the Bible, Proverbs.

When we read about King Solomon's life, however, we see someone who possessed much wisdom but didn’t apply it. Solomon committed many sins. He had several wives and concubines. Some of these women were from countries where God forbade him from intermarrying. This led him to enter into the sin of idolatry as he sought to appease these women. (1 Kings 11:1-13)

King David was also a sinful man, but unlike Solomon, David came to repentance. David possessed the beginning of wisdom - the fear of the Lord. You could say that Solomon's wisdom was useless to him.

As parents, this is our struggle as we teach our children God’s Word. It is possible for our children to gain a whole lot of knowledge but that knowledge become useless because of their lack of heart change and subsequent application. Nonetheless, we must start with teaching truth so that a foundation is laid. Then, we must pray that the supernatural work of God’s Word, with the help of the Holy Spirit, transforms our children’s hearts so that that become not just hearers of the Word, but also doers of the Word (James 1:22).

Photo Credit: Pexls/Daria Obymaha

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

One of the most generous gifts God gives us this side of heaven is the gift of wisdom. James 1:5 teaches us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." Without finding fault God gives us tools not only to serve and glorify Him, but also tohelp our lives run smoother on a practical level. This shows us that God is concerned with every aspect of our lives, not just the spiritual.

It is difficult to give a precise list of Proverbs that our children must learn. They are all important in different seasons of our lives. This list is a good place for children to start learning as it contains Proverbs that are foundational for other ones and applicable to their lives as children. 

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Proverbs for Accepting Wisdom

Proverbs for Accepting Wisdom

1. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7

The word "fear" will likely confuse children. Even adults struggle with its meaning when they read it in the Bible. However, "fear of the Lord" does not mean to be scared. "Fear" used here means "a profound reverence or awe." In order for our children to become wise, they must first possess a reverence and awe of God that leads them to accept wisdom and instruction.

2. "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." Proverbs 12:15

Listening to advice is difficult for most of us, and it's especially difficult as children move into adolescence. What's important to teach along with this Proverb is 1 John 4:1, James 3:17, and Proverbs 11:14 so that our children can discern wise advice versus corrupt advice.

3. "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." Proverbs 11:14

What is important here is the "abundance of counselors." People love to give advice, but it's not always godly advice. Teaching our children that getting their advice from several godly people helps to ensure that it is pure and from God. Taking the advice of just one person is seldom wise.

4. "A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction" Proverbs 13:1 (NLT)

5. "My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life." Proverbs 6:22-23

We want our children to accept our discipline so that they will learn to accept God's discipline. Our goal is for them to trust us and want to obey us so that they will trust and obey God. 

Design Credit: Rachel Dawson

Proverbs for Integrity

Proverbs for Integrity

6. "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." Proverbs 4:23

As parents, we often get into battles with our children about what's appropriate for them to listen to or watch. This Proverb explains the importance of being discerning about what we allow into our minds through media, experiences, and other people. What goes into our minds comes out through our hearts (Matthew 15:19, James 1:14-15). Therefore, it is wise to guard our hearts by guarding what goes into our minds.

7. "People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives." Proverbs 16:2

8. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

9. "It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory. A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls." Proverbs 25:27-28

Design Credit: Rachel Dawson

Proverbs for Friendship

Proverbs for Friendship

10. "A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted." Proverbs 12:16 (NLT)

How often do my children react with screaming, yelling, and tears when they are wronged by a sibling or a friend? Often. This is a good time to teach Proverbs 12:16. The benefit is Proverbs 17:27-28.

11. "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

12. "Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent." Proverbs 17:27-28

13. "Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered." Proverbs 11:12-13

Proverbs 11:12-13 teaches characteristics of a good friend and offers an example of how to love our enemies - two traits that our children need to practice. Belittling and slandering are never wise.

14. "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." Proverbs 17:17

We are meant to live in community. Proverbs 17:17 explains the reason. Our brothers and sisters in Christ help us when we face adversity.

15. "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." Proverbs 13:20

This might be the most important Proverb as children move into adolescence. Using it we can teach our children how friendships affect us, and it's important to choose friends wisely. 

Design Credit: Rachel Dawson

Proverbs for Work

Proverbs for Work

16. "A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense." Proverbs 12:11

17. "Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty." Proverbs 21:5

Teaching children to work hard is not easy. Most of the time when I tell my children to do a chore or help in some way, they throw themselves in the floor like I've asked them to go out and catch their own dinner. But I've thought about how teaching them to have a strong work ethic is one of the most important skills I can teach them. We are made to work hard. And regardless of their profession, working hard will be required so they might develop a strong character and provide for their needs. 

Design Credit: Rachel Dawson


Brenda Headshot Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on Brenda’s blog, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.