My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment, for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions. For I, too, was once my father’s son, tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.
My father taught me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you. She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown.”
One of the greatest responsibilities of parents is to encourage their children to become wise. Here Solomon tells how his father, David, encouraged him to seek wisdom when he was young (“tenderly loved as my mother’s only child”) (see 1 Kings 2:1-9 and 1 Chronicles 28:20–29:5 for David’s charge to his son and his admonition to others about Solomon). This encouragement may have prompted Solomon to ask God for a discerning heart above everything else (1 Kings 3:9). Wisdom can be passed on from parents to children, from generation to generation. Ultimately, of course, all wisdom comes from God; parents can only urge their children to turn to him.
Anyone who wants wisdom must decide to go after it. It takes resolve—a determination not to abandon the search once you begin, no matter how difficult the road may become. This is not a once-in-a-lifetime step, but a daily process of choosing between two paths—the wicked (Proverbs 4:14-17, 19) and the righteous (Proverbs 4:18). Nothing else is more important or more valuable.
If your parents never modeled a lifetime trust in God, you can lean on the loving kindness of your heavenly Father. As you learn from the Scriptures, you can create a legacy of wisdom as you teach your own children. Let your children see you reading the Scriptures. You might encourage a family time of worship and Scripture study.