“A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”
There is no mistake in rearing wise children. You are not going to mistakenly stumble across children who are wise enough to know how to handle life. Sadly, many children grow up without having the opportunity to learn the wisdom for life because their parents don’t take the time to teach them wisdom. In the first few verses of this chapter, several principles are taught to parents on how to train wise children.
First, it takes a parent’s instruction to rear wise children. The verse above says, “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction…” You will never turn out wise children if you don’t take the time to teach them the ways of life. You must not be so busy with life that you forget to take the time to teach your children the wisdom they need in life. Yes, it will take patience to teach them, but it is much better to be patient and a little frustrated because you took the time to instruct your children than to be heartbroken because you reared a fool. Certainly, every foolish child is not always the fault of a parent, but many foolish children are a result of a parent who never took the time to instruct their children.
Second, it takes a parent’s rebuke to rear wise children. I am all for praising your children, but they must be rebuked when they do not follow your instruction. Life won’t be as forgiving to a child as a parent will, and that is why a parent must rebuke their children when they do wrong. Many parents feel that all that children need to turn out right is praise, but that is the Devil’s lie. Praise without rebuke leads children to live in a make-believe world that they are always right. If you don’t want your children to feel entitled to being praised for everything, you would be wise to rebuke and punish them when they don’t follow your instruction.
Third, it takes work to rear wise children. Verse 2 says, “A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth…” Wise children are children who learn that you must work to get. A parent who gives everything to their children is a parent who is rearing a foolish child. Children who work tend to be wiser than children who play all the time. A child must learn that playing doesn’t reward them with the things they want, but they must learn that reward comes through work. You would be wise to give your children chores around the house. Your children live in your house rent-free, and they must learn that they should work for that privilege by having chores they should do every day.
Fourth, it takes listening instead of speaking to rear wise children. Verse 3 says, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” You would be wise to teach your children to listen more than they speak. Too many children think they need to always give their mind, but the one thing children must give to learn wisdom is their attention and a listening ear.
Fifth, it takes truth and righteousness to rear wise children. A lying tongue and a wicked lifestyle have never produced a wise child. You must demand truth from your children all the time, and you must never condone unrighteousness. It is better to take the time to demand truth and righteousness when they are young than it is to try to clean up the mess that lying and unrighteous living produced. You will never regret requiring your children to do right and to tell the truth all the time.