Why does the father in Proverbs 4 spend so much time telling his son to listen?
It’s pretty obvious really. There must be at least a couple things going on.
If you have kids, you probably know what I mean.
You tell your son again and again because you earnestly want the best for him. You’ve been a kid before. You’ve paid your dues. All you want to do as his parent is to save him from the train wreck ahead.
So you nag. You cajole. You even coerce. Anything to drill into him the sense you’ve learned after years of making your own dumb decisions.
They say repetition is the mother of learning. Is that why mothers get the rap of being a nag when all they really want is for wisdom to sink in with their kids?
Another reason the father in Proverbs 4 repeats himself is that his son isn’t listening.
Have you ever tried to talk to someone when they are playing a video game? They pretend they’re listening but honestly what you say bounces off his skin like a paper wad. If you were to question him later about what you said, he’d respond with, “Huh?”
When kids are under seven years old, they are more likely to listen to you. Studies have shown that by that age, a child’s personality is set. His beliefs have dug a pretty deep foundation. It’s at that time they start to doubt you, and to think they know more about life in less than a decade than you have after living for four.
Kids, your parents, if they are genuinely concerned about your welfare, are doing their best to lead you into a good life. Why not listen to what they have to say? It’s okay to question, just do it without sounding like you have all the answers.
Maybe between the two of you, the world will become a little bit better.