“If you have too many questions, you may not have any friends,” six-year old Myles said.
Yes, sometimes it is better not to know than to ask the wrong question.
My friend Donna recalls the time she asked a college classmate, “Are you pregnant?” The pause after her classmate said “No” was indeed pregnant.
According to Jonas (6), “If someone is talking while you are talking, you should tell them to be quiet.”
If you are a judge with a gavel in your hand, this might be appropriate.
But it is doubtful that King Solomon had this in mind when he penned the proverb.
“When somebody knows something, if he is wise, he won’t blabber it out. A foolish man will blabber everything out, and everybody will know about it like a hidden key to a house,” six-year old Conor said.
To broadcast secrets, you can buy television time or tell a fool. Just because you know something doesn’t mean you have to blabber it to anyone who will listen.
“This means a wise man acts wise and keeps hold of his wisdom until the proper time,” says Tommy, age unknown.
Another proverb says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
I once stayed with friends in their Mississippi mansion, which reminded me of antebellum homes seen in “Gone With the Wind.” Every room was perfect.
This is the sense of a word fitly spoken being as apples of gold in settings of silver. Our words should be appropriate and beautifully coordinated for the occasion.
“A foolish person can ruin something by telling all the private things, but a wise person would keep all the private things to himself,” says Houston, 7.
Try asking yourself the following question when the topic of conversation turns to someone who is not present: Would you say the same thing if the absent person were present? This question would radically alter many conversations.
“Wise people think before they speak, and unwise people speak without thinking,” Karmen (8) said.
The New Testament
The Book of James has often been thought of as Proverbs of the New Testament.
It too contains many wise sayings about controlling the tongue such as, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).
Application of this wisdom could transform our personal relationships and even world affairs. Increasing our eagerness to listen is the first step to lengthening the fuse on our anger. The mouth is not in gear when the ears are engaged.
“A foolish person is not supposed to tell someone all the secrets somebody told them. A wise person keeps secrets and does good things that God asks them to do,” Abby (6) said.
Change that to “any secrets” instead of not telling all the secrets, and you have a winner, Abby. One of the most famous defence attorneys in America is Herbert J Miller, Jr. President Richard Nixon and Senator Edward Kennedy are among his former clients.
I once asked Miller, “What is the most important advice you give a client when he retains you?”
“Keep your mouth shut,” he said.
In addition to this succinct advice, Miller could have added Proverbs 6:2: “You are ensnared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth.”
Think about this: Sometimes silence really is golden. Other times, appropriate words are golden like apples of gold in a silver setting. If we were to choose our words as carefully as we coordinate the furniture in our homes, our inner environments would be transformed.
Memorise this truth: “Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction” (Proverbs 10:14).
Ask this question: Is your ear quicker than your tongue?
Carey Kinsolving is an Auckland based storywriter and the above is a part of ‘Kids Talk about God’ distributed by Creators Syndicate. To access free, online ‘Kids Color Me Bible’ books, ‘Mission Explorers’ videos and all columns in a Bible Lesson Archive, visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. To read journey-of-faith feature stories written by Carey Kinsolving, visit www.faithprofiles.org; Copyright 2014 Carey Kinsolving