Parents and Children

Tiffany and I are the usually proud parents of a Forkie named Charlie. (A Forkie is a fat Yorkie.) We’re only usually proud because while Charlie is friendly and well-behaved indoors, the moment his paw hits the porch, he becomes less a Yorkshire Terrier than a Yorkshire Terrorist.
The other day, while walking with Charlie at dusk, we came across a married couple and their three German Shepherd puppies. Charlie predictably transformed himself into a furry, ten-pound ball of snarling meanness. When one of the German Shepherd puppies became slightly agitated, the wife leaned down, stroked his head, and said, “You don’t have to be a bad dog.” I was so embarrassed.
The Book of Proverbs teaches that how we live reflects well (or badly) on our parents—much like how Charlie makes me and Tiffany look like good owners or complete idiots, depending on his behavior. Proverbs associates living well with living wisely, as these verses teach:
A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish son grief to his mother (10:1).
A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish man despises his mother (15:20).
To have a fool for a son brings grief;
there is no joy for the father of a fool (17:21).
A foolish son is his father’s ruin (19:13a).
A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth (29:3).
That last proverb shows us that wisdom (or folly) can be described specifically in terms of actual behaviors. A wise person is good with money and sexually chaste; a fool spends his money on hookers.
Here are some other specific behaviors of wise (or foolish) children:
He who robs his father and drives out his mother
is a son who brings shame and disgrace (19:26).
If a man curses his father or mother,
his lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness (20:20).
He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father (28:7).
He who robs his father or mother
and says, "It’s not wrong" —
he is partner to him who destroys (28:24).
There are those who curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers… (30:11).
Wise behavior is lawful behavior, God-commanded behavior. Foolish behavior is the opposite; it is self-centered behavior.
In addition to reflecting well on one’s parents, wise behavior has other benefits. Indeed Proverbs 17:2 suggests that wisdom is more valuable than biological ties when it says,
A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son,
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
Of course, parental behavior also reflects well (or badly) on the children.
Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children (17:6).
The righteous man leads a blameless life;
blessed are his children after him (20:7).
So, how should we live? Not only by doing the wise thing, the God-commanded thing, but also by doing the honorable thing, that is, what reflects well on our families.

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