Wisdom from Proverbs 1:8-9
If this is your first Wisdom Wednesday, you can read them here.
It’s a parent reminding their child to pay attention to and learn from his parents’ teaching in such a way that it is as if he is wearing it as a crown or necklace.
I have several different necklaces that I love. Some are intricate and beautiful and hold deep meaning as my husband carefully selected them. I know he even used (a large) part of his hard-earned money to purchase specifically for me. They carry a meaning behind them representing different stages of our relationship. And some represent my children.
As mentioned in my post about bereaved parents, one necklace was a gift from a friend who wanted me to have a tangible memory of my daughter who passed away. It has her initials on a heart along with her birthstone. Another necklace has the birthdate of my son in Roman numerals. I treasure each one. And whenever I fasten them around my neck, I’m carrying my memories with me and love when someone compliments any of them so I can share their story.
These verses are directed to the child. Whatever the age of this child, it is wisdom given from one generation to the next. The hearer is responsible for the instruction given. He’s encouraged to not just hear it, but to fully listen to it. And to not forsake or dismiss it, but clothe himself in it, just like wearing a treasured necklace. The parents want their son to be fully engaged in living his life in the wisdom passed down and immerse himself so deeply in his knowledge of what is right that he won’t fall prey to those who seek to lead him down a wrong path (more on that later).
This wisdom is a form of moral protection.
But what if you flip the scenario around? I think there’s more to those verses than just parents challenging their son. I started wondering about the challenge to parents, more specifically to myself. The surrounding verses give us the context that that these parents were imparting wisdom to their son. But what about me? What am I imparting to my son? I’m not saying this to overwhelm (more than I already feel sometimes), but being a parent is more than having someone to share household chores or to take care of me when I get old. God has entrusted me (and my husband) with the responsibility of raising our son.
We are to be giving him practical, godly wisdom that he can apply to his own life.
At age 2, that might seem a little crazy, but even now I see him learn so much from how I act that it sort of scares me a little to know that he sees me at my worst too. He’s learning practical things like how to eat at the table properly, pick up after himself, and get dressed, etc. but also things that he will take with him the rest of his life, like respect for others through sharing, using manners (please, thank you, and excuse me’s), and respecting authority with a good attitude (with not throwing temper tantrums if we ask him to pick up his toys—we’re still working on this one).
I’m not naïve enough to think that 2 year old situations are the same as teenager situations and all the added stressors that come with time and experience, but as a parent we have to remember where are responsibilities lay. It’s not to force our children to make the right choices, but to bring them up in wisdom and knowledge to make the right ones themselves.
There are different sides to this and a gazillion family scenarios that can come into play. Maybe you didn’t have a positive upbringing. Maybe you didn’t have parents instilling wisdom in you. It’s never too late to gain wisdom from a Heavenly Father. I know, that sounds like some strange mystical thing Christians say that sometimes creeps everyone else out. But in its truest sense, God wants to adopt you into His family and the adoption fees have already been paid. Let me know if you want to know more by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or maybe your story is that you have children who are difficult and not accepting or hearing the wisdom you so desperately want them to learn. Maybe your heart is aching because they are making poor decisions and you’ve done everything you can. Don’t give up. Don’t stop praying. Love them through this time. Let me know how I can pray for you at email@example.com. Know that God hasn’t given up on them either. He is faithful and just to forgive and purify us from sins (1 John 1:9).
Don’t get overwhelmed by the responsibility. That promise of forgiveness is for all of us, even when we mess up. (And, oh boy, do I mess up!) There’s no expectation to be perfect, for us as a parents and for children. But we are to listen to instruction and not to forsake teaching. And listening to God comes from His Word, the Bible. Stay anchored in Him and His wisdom.