Everyone knows that the book of proverbs in the Bible is a book of sayings and wisdom. What a lot of people miss is that Proverbs is written from a father to his children, more specifically his son. The word my son, is stated 22 times in the book, there are only 3 instances in the entire book in which a son is not being spoken to. Proverbs 6:6 speaks to the sluggard, Proverbs 8:5 and 1:4 speak to naïve one, which is a synonym for a young man.
What does this mean? As Christians we believe the Bible to man written but God inspired, so we should probably take note that God wants us to teach our sons these things. Proverbs 4:1 tells children to listen to their fathers and come to an understanding in his words. Now, we men are not exempt from this book, we are children ourselves, with fathers that can guide us.
As men age, we tend to forget this. As children we look up to and respect our fathers, when we hit our teenage years, we start knowing everything, right? What dad says, some we listen to, some we felt like he was full of crap and we did it our own way. How often did our own way work out for us? If we’re honest, not as often as we would have liked. We didn’t listen to our father’s wisdom.
I am a dad of an 11-year-old and 16-year-old boys. I have witnessed the blank stares as I’m teaching or giving instructions to them. I’ve watched as I’ve sent my oldest out into the yard to do something, with strict instructions and he does the opposite. When asked why, he has honestly said, I thought my way would work.
I know, we should let our young men experience and figure things out on their own, but sometimes that lesson costs a few thousand dollars. Such as the one time my oldest boy, then 15, knocked the water tank off of the well, breaking the PVC pipes and me standing in the yard watching pressurized water spray 30 feet into the air arching over some tree branches and raining down at a 45 degree angle into the open back door of my house 40 feet away. All I hear is cussing from my wife, crying from my son, and laughter form my daughter. Looking back this was one of the greatest things I ever witnessed.
How did all of this happen? I told him to bleed the air out of the tank before turning the valve off. He didn’t. He thought he could skip that step, and everything would be fine. And while you can skip this step, the water valve tuns easier without the pressure on it. He was pushing against the pressure with all his might, slipped, fell into the tank, knocking it off its stand, snapping the pipe and well, you all know the rest already. What happened? He failed to head my advice; I knew he wasn’t strong enough to turn the valve.
So, to us grown men, how often do we call our fathers and just say, “here’s the situation, what do you think?” I would wager not enough. I’m 36 and my dad just turned 60, he has me beat in the wisdom department and I too am guilty of failing to tap into that source. If you don’t have a dad for whatever reason, find an older man that will guide you.
The book of Proverbs gives us many life lessons, from women (proverbs 21:19), to money, to fools, and evil doers, but the underlying theme is the same. It is an example of what we as fathers and men are supposed to be doing with our children. We are to guide them, teach them, and encourage good habits and behaviors. We are also to lead by example and follow our own advice. Go out there and be the man, father, and example that God intends for you to be. If not, you will guide your children into failure.
Proverbs 4: 20-23
20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.