Grace Words

A Daily Bible Reader's Blog

Presented by Mike Tune, Pulpit Minister for the Church of Christ in Falls Church and Amazing Grace International

Listening

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear . . . (James 1:19).

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future (Proverbs 19:20).

I thought of these two passages recently while reading The Boys, a memoir by Ron and Clint Howard. You remember Ron, surely. He played little Opie on television’s Andy Griffith show (ok, some of you aren’t old enough to remember that show – look up an episode on YouTube).

Ron began playing Opie when he was just shy of six years old. I always liked that show (still do). In fact, some years ago a friend and I were at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures with an afternoon free. I said: “Let’s find that pond that opens the Andy Griffith show.” So we looked it up and drove over to Franklin Canyon Park in (believe it or not) Beverly Hills.

Early in the first year, the script required Opie to deliver a particular line to Andy. Before shooting, little inexperienced Ron raised his hand to ask a question. When called on, he said he didn’t think his line sounded “kid-like.” Everybody stopped. Director Bob Sweeny said: “How do you think a child would say it?” Ron replied and Sweeny said: “Good. I like it. Say it that way instead.”

The whole thing was (obviously) memorable for Ron. He writes: “My appreciation for how seriously I was taken, as a human being with ideas and agency . . . has only deepened with time.”

Not all of “Opie’s” suggestions were taken in the years following, but he felt “listened to” and valued. Everyone, including a child, deserves to feel heard. God’s people, in honoring one another, must work to affirm the value of others by listening to one another. The wise person understands you never know when a good idea might crop up, or who it might crop up from!

Wednesday, July 16. Proverbs 19 – 21

Children deserve parents who have thought about the responsibility of parenting and settled on fulfilling that responsibility – before bringing children into the world. They deserve sufficient and healthy food, an education, encouragement, and a safe place to live. They deserve two parents who love them.

They deserve direction.

The ability to think through, formulate, and make good decisions is due in large measure to the direction children receive growing up. These are life skills that must be learned, and parents are responsible for teaching them.

It may very well be that some children, even properly reared ones, go bad. There are a lot of influences in a child’s life and once the child leaves home, parents have little control (though they should always have a say and even an adult child should listen and consider the direction given). But if this happens, let it not be because the parents did not provide the necessary direction and guidance. As Solomon points out in 19:18, failure to do this makes the parents complicit in the failure of the child.