Proverbs is puzzling. How do you master over 600 individual pieces of wisdom and then teach them to children? By 2012 this was my challenge as a father of three and, over the next five years, became my project. Looking back, I can identify seven specific reasons why I wrote Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation.
- Actually, I didn't set out to write a book. In 2012, I simply wanted to learn Proverbs better, mining its riches for myself. The fruit of that original study appears all throughout Pass It On.
- I also wanted to find keys for teaching it to next generation. Given the length of Proverbs, I knew I would need ways to recall its wisdom in order to apply it to particular situations in life and parenting.
- Over time, I wanted to pass along to other parents, what I was learning—not as an expert, but as a fellow traveler along the winding road of raising a family. By 2014, the seeds of my study of Proverbs had also yielded several parenting seminars, parts of which eventually found their way into Pass It On.
- As I studied Proverbs, the more I realized that God intends that we learn wisdom not only from Scripture, but also from experience. Using his Word as a guide and grid, he wants us to observe how he made the world to work. And by asking guided questions in Pass It On, I give opportunities for parents to reflect on both the wisdom they observe in the book of Proverbs and also the wisdom they've gained in the school of life.
- I also wrote Pass It On to provide a user-friendly Topical Index to Proverbs that matches the realities we experience in daily life. Most topical guides to Proverbs are arranged alphabetically, like a dictionary. But I wanted to arrange the teachings of Proverbs using the syntax of relationships: with God, the world, people, and ourselves. So, the Topical Index, using these as the main headings, makes it easy to find proverbs on a particular topic.
- I wanted parents to leverage their regular time in the Word for the benefit of the next generation. Most Christian parents spend some time reading the Bible and praying, often several times per week, if not daily. Why not capture those insights, and in addition to benefiting from them personally, also pass them on to sons and daughters, grandchildren, or others? Pass It On goes beyond a typical Bible Study, because after you finish the study, you give the book, full of your insights and comments, to someone else—for him or her to read, keep, and cherish.
- I also hope that Pass It On creates a spark for families to share stories together. As you read each chapter of Proverbs, you'll also be asked questions about how you grew up, about your family, your interests, your hopes. These reflections will be treasured and can even become a starter kit for personal and enduring family conversations.