My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they [shall be] an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
It is interesting that verse eight of Proverbs 1 includes reference to both a father and a mother. Not one or the other, but both. Solomon in his wisdom knew that balance was required, and that a family requires two parents to provide guidance and instruction to children. This is what God intended from the beginning (Genesis 2:24).
Going to school in the 1960s just one of my classmates did not have two parents. The reason he grew up with only a father was that his mother died giving birth to his sister. Fast forward to 2012 and many children can rely on only one parent, even in Christian circles. While many single parents do a magnificent job, it was not God’s intention for a family to consist of one parent.
Ornament of Grace
Although verse eight appears to be directed at the young, there is a significant challenge to parents in verse nine. Initially any new parent is likely to be more overwhelmed by the gift of the child, rather than by the challenge of parenting that lies ahead. The challenge and the responsibilities are clearly defined in the prose of these verses. The instruction of a father and the law of a mother are to be an ornament of grace around the head of a child and chains around his neck.
The Hebrew word used for grace also translates as kindness and beauty, something precious to be attached like an ornament or a necklace. And that is a challenge. Do we consistently parent with grace, with kindness? Can our children respect us sufficiently to learn from our instruction? It is important that they can and do.
What do your children see in you?
(originally posted on 4/2/2012)