2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." - Proverbs 3:1-6
The older we fathers get the wiser we get. Theoretically. We gain knowledge and wisdom through many different means but mostly we learn from our life experiences (I will spare you a discussion about Calvinism vs Arminianism - at least for now). Were older and we've been through more stuff. However, despite a father's vast amount of accumulated knowledge there is a STRONG tendency for our sons and daughters not to listen to us. Why is that?
Well, it's the same reason that WE didn't listen to OUR parents. We're independent, we don't want anyone else telling us what to do, we'd rather figure things out for ourselves. That's one of the reasons people end up with a collection of scars in their lives - both on their bodies and on their hearts. Lessons learned in the school of hard knocks.
My wife and I were visiting our son last night. At one point we went down stairs to look at something. Out grandson came too of course. On his own. He got down on his belly and, feet first, began to go down the stairs. His father reminded his son to duck his head under the protective gate at the top of the stairs which his son did rather obediently. Why? Was our grandson dutifully obeying his father? I doubt it. I think it was more like his father's words only reminded him of a previous experience where he had NOT ducked his head and the pain that was associated with the lesson he learned. My son could have removed our grandson from harms way but by allowing HIS son the opportunity to fail and hurt his head, he had allowed his son the opportunity to grow.
Oh, if our children only listened to us parents. We are far more wiser. I think I smell the scent of sarcasm in the air. All we have to do is watch the nightly news to see just how "smart" us adults can be.
Parents usually want what is best for their children. Look at what Solomon wrote to his sons. How do we, as parents, impart our knowledge to our children without them rejecting it? If I knew that I'd be a millionaire from the line of parenting books I would be offering in the bookstores or on my television channel for only $19.99. Operators would be standing by to help disseminate The Wisdom of Bob encyclopedia . . . probably more like a pamphlet . . . one page.
Learning things in life is something we ALL do. What we do with that knowledge is up to us. If it were up to me the planet would be filled with Bible-believing Christians, all of us knowledgeable in the scriptures. I am grateful not to have the responsibility of making THAT happen. But I have allowed sometimes painful lessons in the lives of my children so the lessons they learn from them will stick in their minds. Is that wisdom? Or is it simply being mean?
I believe it is wisdom. I learned to do that from reading and applying God's Word in my life. As parents it is our responsibility to "train up our children in the way they should go" (Proverbs 22:6). Telling them what to do will rarely yield the results we seek. But offering them some sage advice WILL eventually find a home in their heads if you tell them about the pain YOU learned in a similar situation, in a similar sin.
The phrase "nobody's perfect" is still as true today as is was back in Jesus' time when Paul reminded us in Romans 3 that "there is none righteous." Solomon reminded us as well in Ecclesiastes 7:20 "there is not a righteous man earth who does good and never sins."
So what "wisdom" can this old fool leave his children on this cold November morning? Read your Bible! Place ITS wisdom in your heart and mind. In doing this one thing we can ALL get through this life with smaller scars, less pain, and more understanding of what God wants from us in this life - to learn and grow in our wisdom and character. We who believe are privileged to be called children of God. Could we not show OUR wisdom by listening to our father's?
I think YES!
Teach Me God To Wonder (Hymn 299) - Strathroy United Church