“My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.”
The conversation has happened too many times. A parent with a broken heart says to me, “I must have failed as a parent.” This is the statement that I hear from scores of parents whom I have tried to help because their child went wayward and they tend to blame themselves for their child’s choices. Often, the parent’s confidence has been damaged or destroyed in how they reared their children because of one child’s choice to live the way of the world.
The verse above teaches that a child who does right is the parent’s internal validation. Solomon said, “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.” Solomon was telling his son that he was the validation he needed to silence the enemy who criticized or attacked him over the years. Whether or not this is right, it is a fact that many parents have lost their confidence in the right way because of a wayward child. Let me give you three statements concerning the parent’s internal validation.
First, a child’s life choice is not always an indictment of a parent’s character. Every person has a choice, and just because a child chose to live differently from how the parent raised them doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the parent. I get tired of hearing people whose children are young adults criticize others whose child has gone wayward. Certainly, a parent’s training impacts the child’s decisions, but ultimately the child is responsible for their own decision. Why did God deal with rebellious children in the Scriptures if a wayward child is always the parent’s fault? The reason God deals with rebellious children is because there will be people who choose to go a different way than their training. Let me ask, was it the fault of the prodigal’s father that his son went wayward? Absolutely not! The fault was the prodigal’s, just like the fault of every child going wayward is their own. Don’t indict parents just because they have a wayward child.
Second, whether or not you like to admit it, you determine your parent’s confidence. The verse above says that a father is “glad” and able to answer his enemies if the son lived right. You hold the power of your parent’s confidence by how you live your life. If you choose to live differently from how they trained you, you will hurt their ability to continue to boldly proclaim the right way of life. This is why God commands children in Exodus 20:12, “Honour thy father and thy mother…” You are honoring your parents by living according to how they trained you. My friend, you are accountable for every person who is not influenced for right because you chose to hurt your parent’s confidence by choosing to live in the way of the world. You must ask yourself if your life is validating or hurting your parent’s confidence in the way of the LORD.
Third, if your child has gone wayward, don’t let their choice affect your confidence in the right way to live. Yes, you are not the perfect parent, but no parent is perfect. Just because someone chose to live differently from how they were trained doesn’t mean the training was wrong. Stop placing the blame on the training, and realize that the child made their choice. Many parents have compromised in their senior years because of a child’s choice to go wayward. Let me encourage you to keep doing right because right doesn’t change just because your child chose a different life.