As a child I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Seuss and mystery books. My parents always encouraged me to frequently read and study. But there was one book they never provided me with that is perhaps the most important book a child of any age should possess.
I grew up near the beach in sunny Southern California. When I reached the 6th grade I no longer brought home homework or textbooks and yet I still received A's on my report cards.
At first my mother continued to question me why, as did my father when he came home (an officer in the US Navy). When my first report card was sent they marveled and asked me, "How did you do this - did you cheat?"
I didn't cheat. Instead, I read for comprehension, then completed my homework in class. This continued until the end of high school.
Since those early days I've never stopped reading. Nowadays I read 2-5 books a week, though my tastes have changed from fiction and non-fiction to primarily non-fiction. Occasionally I'll read humor but that's about it insofar as fiction goes (aside from Shakespeare). Whatever you read, continue to do so, because real writer's read... a lot. I mean a lot!
There are 66 books in the Bible. I'll refrain from the argument of the additional books in the Roman Catholic faith except to say that the early church leaders rejected them because they were not written by the Apostles and were written after the first century church Apostles has passed away.
The book is Proverbs, the most secular book of the Bible. Secular? Yes, in the sense that it lacks theology, but instead is a collection of wise sayings. Anyone can read and understand it, even if they are not a Christian.
People are wrongly taught that the 31 chapters of Proverbs were written by King Solomon. He did write many but Solomon was primarily a collector of wise sayings. He collected wise sayings from Arab culture, Egyptian culture and from other kings such as King Lemuel and King Agur (both Arab kings).
Solomon's purpose for collecting them was for parents to properly raise their children. Aha, bet many did not know that!
The book of Proverbs is not meant to be read like one would read a regular book. A reader should approach each wise saying carefully to grasp its meaning. This is because they are meant for readers to solve the puzzle - some being much easier than others. Proverbs are not meant to be solved easily but to get you to grasp the overall application for life.
There are a variety of themes in the book of Proverbs. Some of these include wisdom (the first 9 chapters), proper speech, family matters, matters of the heart, rich versus poor, laziness, and the concept of humbleness over pride.
Proverbs has been called a book of how to live by numerous Biblical scholars.
Remember the US proverb, "A stitch in time saves nine"? It's not all about sewing as some think it is, though obviously that is one application. If a tear appears, we should mend it before it becomes bigger and more ragged until the item becomes a worthless rag.
Here is the actual application. The proverb means that when problems arise, and they most certainly will, we should address them quickly rather than procrastinate. If we address our problems right away, they prevent them from getting really bad.
The last chapter of Proverbs (chapter 31) is profound. Aside from life's biggest choice aside from God, it concerns the matter of properly choosing a spouse. Many wrongly believe it is about finding the ideal woman - but that is not necessarily true.
In fact, women and your ladies can apply the wisdom inherent in the chapter to finding the ideal man for their lives.
Think of the book of Proverbs as a book of rules for living an honorable life. Discuss them with your children, ask them what the meaning is. Both of you will grow and lead a better moral life if you apply the wisdom these wise sayings teach. Indeed, if you truly want to properly raise your children, then the book of Proverbs is a must have. Just don't let it collect dust on your bookshelf.