Proverbs 13

“A wise son heeds his father’s instruction…”
~ Pr. 13:1

Growing up, my dad taught me how to work on cars. As we replaced brake pads, changed oil and made a host of other repairs over the years, he also passed along invaluable life-wisdom – the value of hard work, patience and staying the course. This passing of wisdom didn’t just come from him, it most certainly came from my mom, grandparents, neighbors and more.

Perhaps you’ve already taken notice, but there’s been a common theme, or framing, happening in these chapters of Proverbs; namely, the illustration of a father passing along wisdom to his son. It’s actually a common illustration of wisdom used in various other parts of the Old Testament, as well as throughout ancient Near Eastern texts. And while the principle of the father-son wisdom transference would certainly apply to any elder-youth relationship, the point is the same – it’s the wise youth who heeds his/her elder’s instruction.

There’s a temptation for young folk to think they have life figured out, that they’ve “arrived.” In giving in to that temptation, we ignore the counsel of our elders and miss out on the great depth of wisdom found there. This isn’t a problem of this generation, it’s a tale as old as time. Let’s learn from the mistakes of youth of the past, of our own past youthful arrogance, and, instead, choose to wisely consider our elders’ instruction.

Father, forgive us for our youthful arrogance, in ignoring the wise instruction of our moms, dads, grandparents, neighbors and more. Give us your Spirit of wisdom to listen to and heed the wise words of those who have more experience in life than we do. May we be humble enough to find wisdom in our “father’s instruction.” Amen!