WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I?
If correction with the rod is for fools, it is important as a parent that we use wisdom to discern if the activity of our child is foolish or not before using the rod. The book of Proverbs gives us the most comprehensive understanding of foolishness and its dimensions. The books presents 5 different types of fools and we can find guidance that helps in determining the type of correction needed by discerning the kind of fool our child is being.
I actually think that this is an extremely important issue for experience teaches us that the wrong kind of rod applied can indeed discourage our child or harm them by being too harsh or being too lenient. The metaphor of Isaiah 28:27-29 rings so true: Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin, but dill is beaten out with a stick, and cumin with a rod. Does one crush grain for bread? No, he does not thresh it forever; when he drives his cart wheel over it with his horses, he does not crush it. This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.
The first type of fool to consider is translated commonly as the “simple” fool. In the Hebrew the root word means to be deceived or seduced. This fool is one who is easily led, gullible, and may even act silly as seen by others. The reason is commonly that they are ignorant, lack information, or not trained to act wisely in a situation they find themselves in.
Examples from the book of Proverbs are:
1:22a “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?”
7:7 “and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense”
8:5a “O simple ones, learn prudence”
9:4-6 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
14:15 The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”
22:23 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.
The simple fool is instable due to acting out of ignorance and they can be easily corrected in most cases by good instruction and training. It is like when you see your child do something that you see as stupid and you ask them “why did you do that?” and they reply honestly, “I don’t know.” If you apply in this case a heavy rod of correction, it could well be too harsh. What they really need is your instruction and training. Once they have such training and then they repeat the action, they no longer are acting in the same situation as a simple fool, but have elevated their action to being a fool which will be the subject of the next post.