Teaching Goal:  Proverbs are wise guidelines, not always absolute rules.


Proverbs 26:4-5 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

Proverbs 1:28 Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.


  • Pen and paper.
  1. Play theme song
  2. Pray
  3. Review last lesson
  4. Lesson and Discussion
  • Words that are written in bold are when you, the parent, are speaking. Feel free to use your own words.

If I say, “Do not get involved in his folly!” What does “folly” mean? Listen to answers. Foolishness. Lack of understanding or sense. Foolish idea or action. One example of folly is a person who takes spray paint and writes a bad word on a school wall. That is harmful folly. Another example of folly is a person who has never run a race before but claims they can run faster than anyone on the school track team. That is silly folly.

We are going to read two verses from the Bible about “folly.” These verses are surprising. Ask someone to read Proverbs 26:4-5. The first verse says not to talk to a fool about his folly, and the very next verse says to talk to a fool about his folly! Which one is true?

The purpose of this Family Time activity is to learn the difference between proverbs and commandments. The Bible includes both proverbs and commandments.   Commandments are always true. God commands us “not to worship idols.” There is no situation where it is okay to worship idols.

Proverbs are guidelines. Rules that are useful in general. The verses about folly are guidelines. So there are times when it is useful to talk to a fool about his folly, and times when it is not useful to talk to a fool about his folly. Can you think of an example in which the first verse is right? The second verse is right? Listen to answers. If a ten-year-old boy sees a nineteen-year-old boy with a baseball bat about to break a mailbox, that is a time to tell his parents and not talk to a fool about his folly. If a younger brother watches the Superman movie and thinks he can fly off the roof, that is a time to talk to a fool about his folly.

On June 17, 2005 an eleven year old boy named Brennan Hawkins became lost in the woods in Utah while camping with a Boy Scout Troop. It took rescue teams five days and four nights to find Brennan BECAUSE he was following two very important rules his parents taught him. Rule #1: Stay on the trail if you’re lost in the woods. Rule #2: Don’t talk to strangers.

Although Brennan was lost and all alone, whenever he heard anyone on the trail—people who were strangers—he would get off the trail and hide to avoid them. For 5 days and 3 nights, Brennan hid from the very people who were trying to rescue him!! In this situation, his parent’s rules would have been better as guidelines. Like Proverbs, these guidelines work in many but not all situations.

ACTIVITY: Each person take a piece of paper and write down rules we have in our family. Can you think of a time when it might not be good to follow the rule? Families are encouraged to add their own rules to the list.

  1. Do not use the phone without permission. What should your child do if they are home alone with one parent and the parent falls down and is unresponsive?
  2. Do not talk to strangers. What should your child do if they are lost in a mall?

OPTION: Pick out several verses from the Book of Proverbs. Ask the children if they are guidelines or absolute rules. If they are guidelines then ask if they can think of a situation when it might be better not to follow the guideline.

1:7 The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

1:28 Then they will call to me {God} but I will not answer.

3:1-2 Keep the commandments in your heart for they will prolong your life many years.

3:3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you.

3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing.

4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

14:31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

17:9 Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.

22:1 A good names is more desirable than riches.

22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.


Proverbs: Warning signs,

And wise guidelines


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