(Prov 27:11 NLT) Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad. Then I will be able to answer my critics.
I am back to the “gleanings from the Proverbs. The book of Proverbs is full of eternal truths, captured for us to read, apply and benefit from. Back in chapter 10 Solomon said, “Wise children make their fathers proud of them; foolish ones bring their mothers grief” (v.1). Based upon many of the eternal truths from the book of Proverbs and the other wisdom literature of the Bible, I am convinced that our lives are a grand-sum-total of our decisions. We are where we are today, in life, because of the decisions we have made in the past; and we will be where we will be tomorrow, because of the decisions we make today. Understanding this, as Godly parents we have a responsibility to parent our children in such a way that they are prepared to make quality decisions in life. Once we have done our part, we can expect our children to do their part and make good decisions. If they do, the Bible reminds us that our children will make us both proud and happy. However, if we fail to properly parent our children or if they fail to properly receive the parenting and make good decisions, it will ultimately cause grief for the parents and for all involved.
The latter part of our text – where it says, “Then I will be able to answer my critics” – reminds us of the fact that most of the time parents get the blame for the foolish decisions of their children. Solomon, under the role of the parent, urges children to make wise decisions so that their parents would be able to silence their critics. But at the end of the day, this is not about critics. Any good parent just wants their children to maximize their purpose and potential in life.
Few things in life are more precious than when one of my children does something that brings glory to God, themselves, and our family. Likewise, however, few things in life can bring me the level of grief that I experience when one of my children do something that disgraces themselves and our family name.
Growing up in Zambia I knew my mother did not have much, but what she did have (and she thankfully still has it today) is a good name. I never wanted to do anything that would devalue, disgrace, or discredit my mother. Growing up I attempted to live my life every day in such way that would maintain our family name.
So what does this mean to you today? A couple of things:
1. As a son (or daughter) you can either bring honor or dishonor to your parents. You can either submit to or reject what they have taught you. It doesn’t matter how old you are or whether or not your parents are still alive, what you do today can either be a tribute to their legacy or a disservice to their name (see Eph 6:1).
2. As a parent you have a responsibility before God to parent your children. Parenting, especially today, is not easy, but it is worth it. One Dr. Mark Hanby said this about parenting: “It is a painful, costly, time consuming, life draining, “stay up all hours of the night” type of relationship. It is not always a joyful experience for the Father or the Son. The cost is everything a Father has within him. The benefit is a son who will honor his Father.”