Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
The thought of a child or student listening to a father’s or teacher’s instruction is repeated again and again in Proverbs. Solomon knew the independent spirit of youth and the desires to go their own way. Many people, old as well as young, bristle if they feel they are being told what to do, but it’s evident this admonition is said with affection rather than harshness. This first part of the verse also applies to our relationship with God as our father and us as His children. His instruction and discipline are not always what we want, but he certainly wants us to pay attention.
The second part of the verse reminds us of the importance of the early teachings we received from our mothers. Most all of our needs as children were usually met by her. She taught us by example, with words and with discipline. These lessons showed us how to navigate through childhood by getting along with others, sharing, and showing respect. As adults, some may think those lessons are no longer relevant to their lives but the writer admonishes all to never forsake those early lessons.
God himself gave us this same message when He gave Moses the 10 Commandments. Command number five is to honor our mother and father. We may not always agree with our parents but the command to show respect because of their position is very definite. Again, this directly applies to a relationship with our heavenly father. During those times when we don’t understand why things happen, He still wants our honor and respect and our worship. He knows this is what will bring us lasting happiness and peace.