Chip and Dan Heath write, “Proverbs are helpful in guiding individual decisions in environments with shared standards. Those shared standards are often ethical or moral norms. Proverbs offer rules of thumb for the behavior of individuals” (Made to Stick, 47-48).
Recently, I read this after a conversation with a friend about reading a chapter of the Bible book of Proverbs every day. Wisdom, I had told my friend looks like a series of decisions or choices. These choices make sense, reflect good judgment, seem wise. They may run counter to what most people would choose.
One way to cultivate wisdom is to learn how to make good choices, one after another. And a way to learn is to read one chapter of Proverbs a day, and at the end of the month, to start over. Since there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, this works out well.
And you just read them. You don’t study them for story or for theological argument. You don’t dig deeply into each sentence or proverb. You read them as a string of choices.
I did this from October through December 2015. I found a couple things happening.
- I spent 10 minutes every morning reading about quick choices toward wisdom that I didn’t spend consuming other forms of media with advertising that called for choices toward self-gratification.
- I started to think in a decision-making model that illustrates the possibility that there are wise and foolish choices.
The flow of decisions based on values started to shape my own choices in new ways. I offer this practice as a possible routine for Lent. Which officially started last Wednesday, but which can start any time you choose.