Recently I have spent some time pondering a verse from the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 1:8 in the NLT says “My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.” It is speaking to the importance of parenting and instilling specific values into our children. Most people understand that parents play a significant role in the future of their children through their correction and instruction. Parents are usually the most influential people in the life of a child, for good or for bad.

We tend to think that as we get older we no longer need instruction or correction when in reality correction and instruction is something that will take place our entire lives. The question is not whether we need it or will receive it, but who or what are we going to allow to continue to shape us. We are constantly being shaped by those influences. When we have a limited view of correction or instruction, we will miss the importance of it.

Sometimes correction is a simple reminder that we have stopped paying attention. Rumble strips on the side of a highway offer a gentle correction to our course. Almost all correction starts out with a simple reminder to get back where we need to be. When we ignore those reminders, then there has to be drastic action taken. We call prisons “correctional institutes” because we are correcting something that society believes to be a threat and is usually used only when other “gentle” corrective attempts have been made.

When it comes to instruction we should not stop learning when we leave school. There is so much more that must be learned as we go through our life. We learn new skills on our job. We learn how to have a good marriage or to be a better parent. There are constantly new skills, knowledge and understanding that we must acquire to successfully navigate through life.

When we understand how both the people around us and the things we are involved in shape our lives through correction and instruction, it should make us more selective in choosing those people and activities. We must be intentional about choosing the influences in our lives. Our lives become the shape of those that we allow to shape us. I will offer some tips of how to choose better the influences in our lives and the things that significantly impact our lives on a daily basis in the next two blogs.

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