Young people, if you look up Proverbs 1:8, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1-5, and Proverbs 7:1, you will find over and over again the call of a father to his son: “My son, listen….” These words, repeated as often as they are, might give us the impression that Solomon must keep calling his son back to him. This son might need to have his attention called back to the wisdom his father wishes to teach him. Or this son might need to be pursued by his father to turn him back to the wisdom that he must learn from his father.
You sons and daughters of the church must know your part in the wonderful transaction of wisdom set out in the whole book of Proverbs. What must your wisdom be? Your wisdom is not to go your own way until your parents get in front of you and confront you about that way in order to turn you from it. Neither is your wisdom to wait until your parents say to you, “My son!” or, “My daughter!” Your wisdom is to go and ask your parents.
This wisdom is part of your spiritual maturity. As you grow in the strength of youth you receive more privileges and more freedoms, but also more responsibilities. You are expected to become more responsible. That responsibility does not only mean additional chores, or that you must use the freedom you have to do good and not do evil. That responsibility also touches on the relationships that you have. You are responsible to maintain them and keep them in good shape. That responsibility is easier when it comes to relationships with your friends. How eager you are to talk to them, share with them the things that happen to you, and discuss what you think about different topics. But that responsibility is more difficult when it comes to your relationship with your parents.
What makes that responsibility more difficult is that your relationship with your parents has gradually changed from the time that you were very young. As you have become older, your view of your parents has changed. No longer do you view them simply as authority figures who instruct you and expect your obedience to their instruction. No longer are you completely dependent on them for so many of your needs. You are more able to make your own decisions. You have gained more independence in your thinking and actions. You are able better to judge matters for yourself. With this growth and development, your relationship with your parents has changed. And your role in that relationship changes. You have become responsible for actively promoting a good relationship with your parents.
It is easy for you to maintain relationships with your friends, but there is temptation to put allyour efforts into those friendships, and leave nothing for your parents. Your relationship with your parents you might neglect and take for granted. As a result, your relationship with your parents would suffer tremendous damage. So well-known to your friends, you would become a stranger to your parents!
What is your relationship with your parents?
Your wisdom is not to let yourself become a stranger to your parents. Who knows you better, your friends or your parents? Whom do you wish to know you better, your friends or your parents? Whose approval and whose love do you cherish more, your friends’ or your parents’?
Go ask your parents!
Why go ask your parents? Because God has given you to them and them to you. Your relationship to them is more solid and sure than any of your friendships. That relationship is of great benefit to you, and through your care for it the Lord will richly bless you. “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” “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” (Prov. 1:8, 9). “So shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:4).
Your parents have been given wisdom by God! In God’s wisdom He has determined to give you, His child, to them. He has given to them the calling to teach you His wisdom. He has given them wisdom as they read, study, and know His Word. He has given them wisdom as they have lived their lives in the light of God’s Word. You honor God when you act according to His way, seeking that wisdom from your parents. See Proverbs 1:8, quoted above.
Go, ask your parents!
Your parents’ wisdom is a particular wisdom. Their wisdom has been shaped and molded by their years under God’s Word. The Lord has given them their wisdom through the different experiences of their lives, including their care and nurture of you. Their wisdom is especially for you. They have been prepared by God’s providence especially to raise you up in wisdom and knowledge. But they also have known you your entire life. They know you as only parents can know their own children. They know you better than you know yourself.
Go, ask your parents!
Your parents have also been given authority to instruct you. That authority God has established in the Fifth Commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother…” (Ex. 20:12). You honor your father and mother by going to them to ask them their opinions and judgments. You show them that you esteem them highly and that you value their thoughts. You treat them with honor and respect when you seek out their knowledge and advice. You show a delight in God and in God’s gift to you of your parents by going to them and asking them.
Go ask your parents!
Show an interest in them. Ask them about their day. Ask them about the different projects in which they are involved. You are in a position to get to know your parents on a mutual basis. As you grow older you will find that you and your parents do have a great deal in common, far more than the same address, the same looks, and the same temperaments. You will find you have the same goals and interests, perhaps the same ways of looking at life, the same ways of solving problems and dealing with difficulties.
Along those same lines, ask your parents if there is anything that you can do to help them. Make yourself available to them in a way that is forward instead of waiting for them to hunt you down. Show that you are completely at their disposal. Do not only ask them when there are chores to be done. Ask if you can help when they are busy in their hobby or a special project.
Ask your parents about yourself, if you dare! Ask them if there is any part of your life that needs improvement. Ask them about your clothes, your music, your appearance, your friends. Especially if you have your doubts about what is right, look for their input. If you wonder whether or not this or that friend, or even a group of friends, is good for you, ask them. Ask them about the person you’re dating. Would he or she make a good husband or wife?
Ask your parents about spiritual things. Ask them to help you with your catechism homework and your Bible homework. Ask them to explain when you run across a difficult passage in your Scripture reading. When it is your turn to lead in a Bible study or after-recess discussion, be sure to get their help. Seek their advice when you see a friend going in a bad direction and ask them what you should do to help him. Ask them what they think about moral issues that come up in conversations with your friends.
You will find many benefits from asking your parents. You will find that the conflicts you might have with your parents will occur less and less and may even disappear altogether. You will notice that you will not be defensive around them. Nor will you always think they are prying into your matters. This is because you make yourself more open to them, and, as a result, the trust that they have for you grows. Your confidence in them will grow as you see the wisdom that the Lord has given them for your benefit. You will also better understand their good motives in their concern for you and your heart and walk. You will also feel less conflict and strife within yourself and more assurance. You will have your parents’ approval and delight because of your good, strong relationship with them. “A wise son maketh a glad father” (Prov. 10:1, 15:20).
You will also find yourself growing much stronger spiritually. Having a good relationship with your parents means that you are open to their godly influence. They will be encouraged to bring you into their discussions about doctrine and worship and other matters of the church. They will be much more eager and forward to share with you what they discussed and learned in their study of God’s Word in their societies and in their personal devotions. For in your questions to them they will find evidence of a receptive mind, eager to grow in the knowledge of your God. In the solid, spiritual relationship you enjoy with your parents you will find much support and encouragement for your walk with the Lord.
Go ask your parents!
If this is a completely different way for you, change now. If this will surprise your parents, the sooner the better. Surprise them. It will be a pleasant surprise. This difference will not be a step backward, back to the time when you were a child simply adoring and worshiping your parents and thinking them flawless. It will be a step forward into a maturity that is the strength of a Christian, covenant son or daughter of covenant, Christian parents.
You can start now: go ask your parents!