How can WE make our PARENTS happy? "The Proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother." (Prov. 10:1)
The above verse begins the second section of this book that goes all the way through Proverbs 22:16. This section consists of 375 individual proverbs, all as single-sentences, each of which expresses a complete idea and is unrelated from one another. These are important practical truths about many aspects of our lives. In fact, each proverb provides us with practical ways in which we must make the choice between wisdom and foolishness in different aspects of our lives. This general thought is designed to serve as an introduction to the entire collection of proverbs!
The author of these proverbs, King Solomon, starts off with a contrast between a wise son who brings joy to his parents and a foolish son who brings grief to his parents, each by his actions. A son who walks with wisdom is a great delight to his parents, while a son who rejects instruction turns out to be a source of great sorrow to his parents. The term son is generic—the central issue is not that he is a son rather than a daughter, but that he is wise or foolish. The behavior of a son or daughter thus has a direct effect on the emotional health of his parents, and so it is of great value.
We should also note that both the gladness and the grief are felt by both the parents. The allocation of gladness to the father and grief to the mother here suggests that each of these emotions is more likely to be visible in the parent mentioned, other than the need for poetic balance. However, the actions of one member of a family inevitably affect all the other members of the family. Just as the actions of the parents can make a major difference in the lives of their children while they are young, in the similar manner, actions of the children can make a major difference in the lives of their parents when they are old. The book of Proverbs urges children to treat their parents with both respect and affirmation, as only a fool despises his parents: "A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother" (Prov. 15:20).
So, the question to ask ourselves is: How can we make our parents happy? Below are five simple ways that the scriptures tell us:
- Through our obedience and respecting their authority over us: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (Eph. 6:1). "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord" (Col. 3:20).
- Through the honor that we bestow upon them: "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." (Eph. 6:2-3)
- Through our sincere submission to their supervision: "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account" (Heb. 13:17).
- Through active listening and paying attention to their needs: "Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old" (Prov. 23:22).
- Through loving wisdom and seeking after it in our daily living: "Whoever loves wisdom makes his father rejoice" (Prov. 29:3)