“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching;
Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.
The first teacher most of us have are our parents. They are the ones who form the early years of life, and often continue on until one becomes an adult. It seems as though the principle of a father and a mother instructing their child was a point that Solomon took as fact. Later within the book of Proverbs, we will see methods and other guidelines of being the instructor. In this verse though, it is emphasized that the child be the one to take action.
“Hear” and “Do not forsake”. These are the responsibilities of the son. Hearing, initially shows a readiness to listen, a willingness to listen. It is not a passive listening to the instruction given by the father. The other interesting word to note is “instruction.” It seems to be used interchangeably with discipline in the Bible.
I remember from a young age being told ‘no,’ and the response I was to give was obedience. Sometimes this occurred because I had broken the rules and I was receiving correction for my behavior. Other times the instruction I was given was proactive, it was cautionary and guiding my life. Some were basics, like don’t touch a hot stove, others more moral, like not telling lies. In any circumstance, those things are valuable lessons and worth listening to. The ‘teaching’ one is to not forsake or turn away from is instruction, the law, the rules. All valuable and in many cases are given to bring a child to safety, security, and better behavior as a whole.
As a mother myself, it is crucial for me to instruct, discipline, correct, and guide my own children. Sometimes it is basic, like look both ways before crossing a street. Often I find myself guiding my own children within the bounds of the moral guides given by Scripture. Do not steal, do not lie, do not cheat, do not murder, do not covet…these instructions are of great value.
Verse 9 describes those instructions as a ‘graceful wreath and ornaments to ones neck.’ These are descriptive of fine jewels. Matthew Henry wrote, “Those are truly valuable, and shall be valued, who value themselves more by their virtue and piety than by their worldly wealth and dignity.” (Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary, http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Pro/Pro_001.cfm?a=629009)
There is so much value when a person holds character above other things. Even within our entertainment, movies, and books there is a great appreciation of the person with right character. The heroes are often the most just, honorable, right, giving, kind, and loving person within a story. We prize the character of the man who lives rightly. God Himself values the person who follows instruction.
I love when my children obey. I am sure every other parent has at some point felt the joy when their child follows instruction by themselves without having to reinforce the laws of the house. I myself had a blessed moment today when this occurred. Today was our first day of the school year. It was one I half longed for but also was slightly dreading. Getting the children back into routine, on schedule, with very distinct instructions to follow. It was in this that I had my moment of real calm and such happiness when they all willingly went to their desks, opened their books, and listened to the words to teach them. While not every day will be like this; I have been homeschooling long enough to know of the October slump, the spring fever and all the bad days that ensue, I know that the heading of instruction truly is a beautiful thing. I couldn’t help but take a few pictures while they were unaware, just to capture the graceful moment. My boys knew it was a good day, and the enjoyment was seen even on their faces.
I think of God being my Heavenly Father and the instruction He has given; and I am both gladdened and convicted. How often do I follow and take head of the instructions in the Bible? Do I follow those things closely, or do I go my own way? The wonderful thing about parents, is that Love often brings forgiveness and grace. It is the same with God our Father. He is willing to forgive, and so desirous of us to follow His Instructions. To listen and learn is graceful, beautiful, and a wonderful adornment to person who does those things.
Oh, I do hope to wear the adornments of obedience; And to have a crown of grace about me as I obey the instructions of God. Is this your desire too?