4 Keys to Gain Wisdom as a Parent

One of my personal challenges this year is to ask others how I can help them.

I’m not assuming my helpfulness, I’m forcing myself to be intentional.

The other day, I posed the question to a friend who is expecting his second child.

Without hesitation he said, “Pray for wisdom as a father.”

The request rested heavy on my soul. Fatherly wisdom is a prayer I say often because I feel like I struggle with it.

As I considered his request, I felt an urge to write about this important and relevant issue. At the same time, I felt unqualified to write about such a colossal topic.

I remembered a quick reminder from my friend, author Andy Andrews.

“If you’re not leading your children, they are following someone else.”

This desire to lead and love my children has me chase wisdom daily. Not that I have attained it – nor will I – I will write a few thoughts to myself.


To raise wise children, you must first seek wisdom yourself.


Define your life or it will define you. Great pursuits start with clear definitions.

So, what is wisdom?

Wisdom is – “Knowledge of truth coupled with just action”

Know the truth and act accordingly.

This has to be the most essential aspect of your life – especially as a parent – so, make it a priority. Do this by creating a routine that allows time for truth. The business of life will force you into its routine. Create your own.

You will not passively understand the truth by simply doing, it will only happen as you search on purpose.

In that way, remind yourself constantly. Write it on the wall if you have to.


Wisdom is learned from wise people.

Wise parenting is learned from wise parents.

Associate yourself with them, every day. Be mindful of personal relationships and who you seek advice from. Remember, you don’t actually have to personally know someone to gain wisdom from them.

A few things to practice: have lunch with someone whose kids are well-behaved, call a friend you look up to, listen to a podcast instead of the radio, watch a sermon series rather than a TV show.

Make an investment in yourself by Investing in others.


Every morning, be purposeful about rising early to read, pray and journal. Do this before the children wake up so that your actions with them will be guided instead of responsive.

Read the Bible. King Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and learning.” Don’t be a fool.

Read books. Thrillers and Sci-Fi are OK, but make sure it’s not just pure entertainment. Read something that leads you to think, to grow: biographies, self-help, non-fiction. What have others learned from their mistakes, accomplishments, defeats and victories?

Read with a pen. Write down the truths you learn.

Read to your children every night. Cultivate an environment of learning. You are the greatest teacher they will ever learn from.


Your mouth will constantly fight your ears because of an inferiority complex.

Don’t let your mouth win. Learn to listen.

Listen to God. This means prayer and quiet time. Everything flows from the context of that relationship. Everything.

Listen to your spouse. Your marriage will be the primary source of education for your children as they grow. Set aside time to be with just your spouse. Dream with her and invest in her as you listen. Don’t become family figureheads just trying to manage until you crash from exhaustion, engage in each others journey.

Failure to listen is often the beginning of a slow fade; the root cause of most infidelity.

Listen to your kids. “Why Daddy?” shouldn’t be inconvenient to you; it is their thirst for knowledge.  Sit and talk with your children. Create moments for one-on-one time with each of them. You’ll notice that if you take the time to listen, they’ll teach you in return.

Wisdom is truth with action: define it, guard your relationships, read with a pen and learn to listen. (tweet to share)

This will create fertile soil for the seeds of truth to take root.

“Good morning Daddy!” My stream of thought is interrupted by the familiar sound.

As I glance past my screen I see that my boys are awake and running toward me.

Time to put these prayers into action.

Which one of these four do you struggle with the most?

Which one can I help you with?

Leave a comment and visit my Favorites page for my sources of wisdom!


A friend had this made as a housewarming gift and it hangs in our living room as a daily reminder

This print hangs on our wall as a daily reminder

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13 Responses to 4 Keys to Gain Wisdom as a Parent

  1. Laura Hile February 26, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    When my boys were tiny, I came to a terrible realization— a light bulb moment. What I wanted were biblical principles to make my children behave. Meaning that I wanted them to be good boys so that I would look good. Ouch!

    For, of course, there is no such thing. The Bible is not a bag of tricks to bring about outward change.

    I was the one who needed to change. I needed to become myself what I wanted to lead them to be. So it starts with you. And that’s a tall order.

    Don’t lose heart, Matt. Be clear, be consistent, follow through with consequences (before you react in anger), and enjoy your boys as people, even though they are young. Keep them talking. Laugh with them. Pray with them. Be the man they want to follow.

    Parenting isn’t easy, but there’s nothing like it. I would do it all again in a minute. My three sons are in their twenties now, and how I enjoy their company. They are hardworking guys who follow God, attend university (two of them), and are gainfully employed. And, wonder of wonders, they like one another.

    • Matt Ham February 26, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

      Laura – it sounds like someone was a wise parent 😉

  2. Dale L. February 26, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    You sound like a wonderful example of this. I loved seeing the picture of your lovely family. My family is my heart so I agree with your admonitions. Love and intentionality win the day. There are battles your family are facing and we need to be there for them.

    • Matt Ham February 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

      Thanks Dale! It is a process isn’t it? But a blessed one!

      • Dale L. February 26, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

        Yes it is. : )

  3. Ken Maxwell February 27, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    Word. Thanks for the reminder Matt.

    • Matt Ham February 27, 2014 at 6:01 am #

      Thanks Ken – what would you add?

  4. Dan Black March 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    I really enjoy the topic of wisdom. Wisdom is so valuable to have. I daily pray for Godly wisdom, God is the ultimate provider of wisdom. Great post!

    • Matt Ham March 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

      Thanks Dan! Are you reading any wisdom specific content?

      • Dan Black March 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

        Currently only the book of Proverbs.

        • Matt Ham March 7, 2014 at 4:30 am #

          “Lazy hands will not roast any game, but the diligent will enjoy the riches of the hunt.” 12:27 – I LOVE it!


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