When Kids Aren’t Teachable

Joey and Carla Link

March 13, 2024

No parent wants to think their child is not smart. But wise king Solomon makes an interesting statement in Proverbs 12:1 (ESV).

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,

but whoever hates correction is stupid.

Stupid” is not a word we allowed our kids to say in our home, but there it is, in the Bible. I (Carla) looked this verse up in different versions to see what was said for the word “stupid” and they were pretty consistent. The ESV, NASB, NIV and NLT all used the word “stupid”. The KJV used the word “brutish”, which means to be “rough, unpleasant or violent”. “Stupid” means “having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense.”

Proverbs 12:1 in The Living Bible says 

To learn, you must want to be taught. To refuse reproof is stupid. 

The Lord blesses good men and condemns the wicked.”

The first 15 chapters of the book of Proverbs contrast the righteous and the wicked, showing that the life of the righteous is far better than the life of the wicked. When reading through the book you will find that Solomon believed you attain practical righteousness in all things and that we would do this by living our lives under that authority and direction of God.

Do you have a child who loves discipline? This means they love to learn to better themselves and they respect those who mentor them in knowledge, understanding it takes discipline to do so. Understanding the importance of having self-discipline is a part of this also. They work to keep their tongue in check and speak kindly towards a sibling or those that hurt them. They discipline their hands to not touch something they know they shouldn’t look at or strike out at a sibling they are mad at or mistreat theirs and other possessions. 

Children/teens who love knowledge are teachable. Depending on their age, they don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. If you find you miss-spell a word, do you seek to learn how it is supposed to be spelled, so that next time you spell it correctly? Teachable kids are more interested in learning the “why” they missed something than just getting it right. When you give your child a task, chore or responsibility, do they care about learning how to do it all the way or are they satisfied with giving it minimal effort then consider the task complete? Every instruction you give a child should be for the purpose to help them learn to be a better person.

This week, we would encourage you to watch your kids and evaluate if they are wise and teachable, wanting to learn more and more to get whatever they are doing right and do better at everything you give them to do, or, are they choosing not to learn from their life experience, therefore setting a pattern for their lives having to function under someone’s authority.  Again, we aren’t talking about young kids who don’t have the big picture in mind of what they want their lives to look like as they mature into adults. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

Proverbs 3:3-6 (ESV)