“Pay attention to what your father and mother tell you, my child. Their teaching will improve your character”.
Prov 1:8,9 GNB
Some people listen to their parents – and blessed are those parents whose children absorb their advice. It is perhaps more common for a young man or woman to say, “I used to listen to what my father used to say and as I grew up through my teens I was embarrassed at how ignorant the old man was. But when I was thirty I was surprised to see how much he’d learnt in the intervening years”.
It is true that we do learn the longer we live and so parents become more knowledgeable as they go through life – and hence more capable of advising their children. Some parents not only gain in head knowledge, they grow in experience and in wisdom as well. This means that a parent of sixty years of age will be even better equipped to advise a son or daughter of thirty-five than they were when their children were storming their way through the turbulent teens. It is therefore usual but not automatic that parents will be in a position to guide and advise their children.
Of more importance than head knowledge is the development of character. Parents can guide younger people with insight, understanding, and care in the development of personhood. And Jesus had one memorable incident when he and his parents missed each other! Nevertheless, we can assume that he and his parents exercised loving care towards each other and that he learnt much about the fatherhood of God from the fatherhood of Joseph in his own family circle. And he learnt carpentry in his father’s workshop too – useful to be able to earn a living!
Lord, help all parents to guide and help their children.