Parents, Children, And Wisdom
“When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live! Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth’” (Proverbs 4:3-5).
Nobody is born innately knowing how to live wisely. This component of the saintly demeanor does not come without effort and assertion. As a parent, do not feel like you have to know everything right away, because that is impossible. As a child, do not feel like you are a total disappointment just because you are not as far along as your father or mother. We are all born with the need to grow, learn, and mature – which is what makes us human! If we have failed to realize this, then we deny ourselves the rich pursuit of self-improvement and education.
“Acquire wisdom!” – Wisdom does not come naturally, friends! It must be acquired, sometimes with great effort and determination. The opportunities exist all around us, though. I can acquire wisdom:
When I look for the positive side of my suffering;
When I listen to my father’s lectures, instead of roll my eyes and ignore him;
When I swim against the current, and follow God’s path;
When I decide to put away the video game and catch up on Bible reading;
When I babysit and learn responsibility for another life;
When I hold down a summer job, and handle it responsibly;
When I sell everything I have for the pearl of great value (Matthew 13:45-46).
In these verses Solomon is reminding his own son of something very important: he was loved by his parents, cherished and nurtured. The influence of his parents made him the godly man he was. As a result of this environment, Solomon was impressed with the examples of David and his mother, Bathsheba. But a great lesson to observe is that even good and loving parents can produce dangerous, sinful people. Solomon was tender and wise because he chose that life, whereas Absalom was wicked and cruel because of his own self-determination. David loved Absalom (2 Samuel 18:33), so that impetuous young man had nobody to blame but himself! Beware of making the mistake that your personal failures are your parents’ fault, or that you were a terrible parent because your children abandoned soundness.
“Do not forsake her… Love her, and she will watch over you” (Proverbs 4:6).