fam42 The Foolish Child explains what the Bible teaches on fools and foolishness, and also a parent’s solution to a foolish child.
The Foolish Child
Objectives in Training a Child
By David Cox
[fam42] v1 ©2019 www.coxtracts
You may freely reproduce this tract for non-profit purposes.
Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
A fool is a person who exalts his own heart, but in contrast to this, the wise person who walks righteously will not “be lost” (as to salvation). God will deliver the wise person from eternal punishment because that wise person will receive Jesus as his Savior.
Ecclesiastes 4:13 Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
A fool is a person who rejects advice.
So, what is foolishness?
We can define the concept of foolishness as the lack of values and vision toward eternity, toward spiritual things. In other words, this person lives focusing on things that the person wants, and he does not pay attention to what God says as being important, or how God says we should live.
Foolishness versus Prudence
Proverbs 12:23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
The word “prudent” here (H6191 עָרוּם arúm) means cunning, wary, sane, or sound (healthy), prudent. A person is identified as sane when his actions, speech, and thoughts are full of intelligence and wisdom (Proverbs 14:18). Wisdom is the good use of science (knowledge) for your own benefit. That is, a foolish person thinks and does things that will really end up hurting him.
Proverbs 13:16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
Proverbs 17:24 Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
Job 5:2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. 3 I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.
The point here is that the same distinguishing mark of a fool (that is, his own lack of logic or commonsense in which he takes pleasure showcasing his bad behavior), will end up destroying him. In other words, a fool will clamor discontent against those who want to correct him. The fool does not care that his behavior is self-destructive or harmful, “This (foolishness) is mine! And I’m going to own it and keep doing it.” He condemns himself; he’s cursed because of his own self, simply because he does what he wants, and he’s pleased by that, and nothing can affect that glee.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
Proverbs 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. It greatly bothers him if somebody tries to counsel him.
Proverbs 13:16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
The basis of being wise is that you do not limit yourself, to just what you think you know. A wise person opens his thinking to the wisdom and advice of others, and weighs others’ opinions to see if they are right or not. The foolish only considers what he himself thinks, or what other fools like him think.
Examples of Foolish Conduct and Character
Proverbs 14:29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
Proverbs 14:17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Proverbs 12:16 A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
When a person takes time to get angry or withstraints himself, he is taken as very wise. But the characteristic of a fool is that he tends to speak and react instinctively. He has no patience, and he is not interested in obtaining it. He is going to say things no matter the consequences for his life. Patience is a quality of character which fights against foolishness.
Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
To be humble and gentle is the opposite of being overbearing with others and/or confronting them as in a personal conflict. Patience and humility are always better in God’s eyes. Why then are there dense people who always seem to be drawn to confrontation? It is because they think “The consequences aren’t really important so when they have the opportunity to show their intellect and will, they are showing themselves off.”
Proverbs 15:14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
Proverbs 10:1 A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
Proverbs 15:5 A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
Is there any good reason why a person would harm his or her own self? Not really. What we can say is that there is an element of rage, hatred, and/or rebellion in that person because they want to show that nobody is going to control or influence them, but rather their own foolish heart will dominate them. It may take them wherever, but they will follow it, nonetheless.
Psalms 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
(In other words, he says “no” to God) What a fool really wants to “show off” is his own foolishness against the wisdom of God. In essence, he is defying God, saying “God, you cannot change me, nor can you correct me. I am my own god, and I am going to have what I want no matter what, and even if I destroy myself and everybody else in the process.”
Psalm 92:4 For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. 6 A brutish man (or a fool) knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.
The difference between a fool and a Christian is that the Christian puts his delight in God, such that he reflects on how marvelous our God is, and the fool delights himself in his own bad conduct and thinking, and his impunity in that nobody can change him. Proverbs 10:18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. A fool doesn’t learn even if his foolishness causes him problems.
Fools resist Correction
Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall. Proverbs 10:14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
Once again, what distinguishes a fool from a wise person is that the wise person learns from life, from others, and especially from God, and he corrects his life so that things go better for him, and he distances himself from evil for the same reason.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. A fool thinks that no counsel is good except his own ideas on any subject.
Proverbs 17:10 A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
Prov 17:16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
The difference is that the wise person will gain advantages from being corrected, but for the fool, any counsel, any logic, or science, and especially any wisdom is of no use to him. He already knows everything, and he rejects everything other than his own thinking.
A Fool likes to show his own will and understanding and “wisdom”
Proverbs 15:21 Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly. The wise person will correct his own life when it is wrong. But the fool congratulates himself, praising himself on the strength of his own logic and will in insisting that he is right. He ignores others, especially God.
Proverbs 16:22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
As a child that drinks a carbonated soft drink and later proudly burps to his own enjoyment, thus is a fool with his own foolishness and temper tantrums.
Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
Foolishness has spiritual power over the fool. This is because his conduct and foolish words are an absolute expression of his own will and failing character.
Proverbs 27:22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
For all that one tries to separate the foolishness from the fool’s character, it is integrally part of his personality, and even though he may understand that his foolishness is wrong, he glories in it, saying, “Look at me! Even though I am wrong, I am me, and my life is great!” He probably knows exactly the opposite is the truth.
The problem here is not just that the fool is mistaken. We all make mistakes, but once we see it is as a mistake, we humble ourselves and correct the mistake so as not to repeat it. The fool is distinguished in that life proves him wrong, but with resolution, purpose, and hard headedness, he continues in the same, repeating his errors, and boasting all the while he is doing so.
The Curse of a Fool
Proverbs 17:12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.
The last phrase is literally “a fool in his foolishness”. A fool or a person of little intelligence (a person lacking logic, knowledge, or common sense, a silly person) entertains himself by being foolish. Showing the world his foolishness is his toy, his plaything. Proverbs 11:29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart. Things never go well for a fool, but even so, he is hardheaded and determined to continue in his foolishness.
How to Get rid of Foolishness from a Child
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Discipline is the solution that God has commanded to get rid of foolishness from people’s lives. It is only when somebody with authority confronts the conduct and attitude of a fool, that the fool can be corrected. It is a shame that people reach adulthood with their hearts and lives still full of foolishness.
Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
This verse seems to be a contradiction, but it is not. We should not confront a fool with more of his own foolishness. We should not be strong willed with the fool. We should use understanding and wisdom to correct him. If your child is sitting on the floor screaming in a temper tantrum, when you want him to do his homework, then you as his parent shouldn’t get upset because “you cannot do anything with the child”, instead you get a switch and discipline him. You cannot use foolishness and stubbornness against the same to get anywhere with the child. It is better to use a harsh physical punishment to stop the temper tantrum and get his attention on you as an authority figure.
Ecclesiastes 2:13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
As a spiritual force in our lives, wisdom removes all that is not wise in us, but foolishness simply releases all evil in us, letting what hurts us to overtake our lives.
Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
In the final analysis, foolishness, being hardheaded and dense, and willfulness only makes problems and crises, and it is idolatry against the wisdom of God. If you love him, you will discipline him.
Proverbs 26:3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
 Prudence is listening to wise advice.
fam42 The Foolish Child