REAL Wisdom in Parenting – Got the Manual

One day two women came to King Solomon, 17and one of them said: Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us.

One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me. In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.

“No!” the other woman shouted. “He was your son. My baby is alive!”

“The dead baby is yours,” the first woman yelled. “Mine is alive!”

They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, until finally he said, “Both of you say this live baby is yours. Someone bring me a sword.”

A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, “Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”

“Please don’t kill my son,” the baby’s mother screamed. “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.”

The other woman shouted, “Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.”

Solomon said, “Don’t kill the baby.” Then he pointed to the first woman, “She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.”

Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.        1 Kings 3:16-28 (CEV)

With this story, the phrase “Wisdom of Solomon” was born. Yes, God did impart His wisdom into Solomon that day. But God had also done something else.

I was the youngest child in our family that had only two children. My brother was eight years older than me. I must say that he was very tolerant about letting me play around him and his friends. I would rather play basketball than with dolls. I had dolls but they did not keep my attention like basketball or ‘helping’ my dad under the hood of the car. I found babysitting to be a thankless, low-paying job that quickly got replaced with a job at the local A & W fast food establishment!

When I got married and my husband I began to talk about children, I admit that I did not think about the serious ramifications of that ‘job’. In my mind, I saw only an angelic child that smelled sweet and would gently wave his/her arm, reaching toward my face. Then God blessed us with twins. Suddenly, the reality of back-to-back feedings and baths and maneuvers that would rival the moving of the 7th Armored Battalion just to go to the mall became my daily world. The dreams ended and I looked frantically around for a ‘How to’ manual on my new life. All the skills that I needed were not something with which I was naturally born.

Here in this story of Solomon is also the story of two women, two mothers. We don’t know about the fathers. In our modern world, we would assume that two prostitutes may not know who the father might be. But the real story here for me today is how one mother kept her eyes on herself and tried to make sure she won and that she didn’t lose anything. Had she decided to sell her child and his/her death was seen by her as only a monetary loss? We don’t know. In my mind, I can see the other mother, her eyes never leaving her child as he/she is laid beside the dead child before the king. She is there before the king, praying for justice. The verdict is given. NO! There is no hesitation on her part because her child being alive with someone else is better than being dead. Her eyes never leave her child. She is not trying to make the situation a win for herself but a win for her child. And so the “Wisdom of Solomon” becomes a no-brainer, really.

Being a mother or a father begins and ends with putting the ‘best for my child’ before my need for gratification. That means getting out of bed when my body is screaming for rest at 3 a.m. It means repeating myself ad nauseum that the stove is hot and the street is dangerous. It means stepping back on occasion to allow small consequences to teach my child that one day there will be big consequences. Being a parent is all about my child first.

God teaches me about parenting by showing me how He is a parent. He left paradise to live and walk through what I would have to walk through. He showed me the extravagant love that a parent has for a child. He showed me how discipline is part of that love. He showed me.


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