“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” (Proverbs 1:8-9)
Children tend to think they know better than their parents. Many adults are sure they know better than anybody else. But the “son” in today’s Scripture portion is urged to pay attention to his parents’ words and to live according to their advice. That is not only a reasonable thing to do (generally), it also matches God’s commandment to “honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
Parents have the responsibility to teach their children, first of all, about the Lord. The Bible stresses this on various occasions, e.g. in Deuteronomy 6:6-7. But they can also pass on wisdom about everyday life that is very valuable to inexperienced youngsters.
The poem at the end of the book of Proverbs describes the ‘ideal mother’: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26). How stupid it would be to forsake such good teaching!
If you are young and have parents, guardians or carers advising you, make sure you listen carefully to their instruction. And if you teach children, take your responsibility seriously! Good teaching is like precious jewelry; it has long-lasting value.