Learning from our Elders

Shameless excuse to place a picture of my granddaughters! 


Prov. 1:8    Hear, my child, your father’s instruction,
and do not reject your mother’s teaching;
9 for they are a fair garland for your head,
and pendants for your neck.


The proverbs give us excellent practical advice for daily life. Children are to listen to and obey their parents. This instruction is so helpful for life that it becomes as beautiful as an adornment that one might wear. 


I spent a few minutes of my morning with my granddaughters who are three and nineteen months. Usually they are such a joy in the mornings, full of sunshine and smiles, but not today. The girls are a bit tired this morning because they were up a little late last night and the older one awakened a little too early. That means that today has a few more challenges than the average day, and some buttons that are easily pushed. I watched on as my daughter told her oldest that she had two options for some quiet time this morning. Neither one of those options was seen as favorable and so the tears began to flow, with an insistence that a three-year-old knew the best option and it included watching “Paw Patrol.” From a distance I watched as this all played out with mother refusing to give in to the little one. 

A few minutes later the same testing occurred but brought on by the nineteen month old who was determined that she was finished with breakfast. Soon there ensued the “just two more bites” discussion. At this point the toddler turned into one of the finest actresses I’ve seen at such a young age. She worked really hard to get those tears to start to flow, wrinkled up her face, and thought she’d add some sounds of anguish. This was met by a mother with resolve who simply looked at her and praised her on her acting skills and told her to eat two more bites. She instantly stopped the show, ate her two bites and lovingly smiled at her mom. 

I remember the days of being a young mother and the energy that it took to keep instructing the girls, and now I watch my daughter do the very same thing. I watch these two little granddaughters and I realize that if they learn to follow the instructions of their parents (because their dad is just as engaged in their instruction as their mother) they will discover a “fair garland” for their head and a “pendant” for their neck. Even at their very young age they have to decide whether they will follow the instruction of their parents or not, but if they do listen, things will go better for them. It’s the love of their parents that is poured out in instruction so that they will learn how to live well in this world. 

Our heavenly Father provides us with instruction for life. There are times when we respond like little children, unhappy about the options and direction that God may want us to go. Sometimes we don’t like the spiritual food, or spiritual experiences that God may be using to shape and form us. We wrinkle up our nose and show our disgust at what we are going through. Our loving Father knows that it’s not always pleasant, but he also knows that what is best for us. 

Spiritual children are to hear and heed the instruction and teaching of our heavenly Father. Our Father wants us to be able to live well and follow his leading. This will be visible in the ways in which we live our lives and respond to the difficulties which we will encounter. Instead of being ugly in the midst of a tragedy or frustration, we will become adorned with God’s instruction and teaching which will make us appear to be beautifully adorned. It’s the ways in which we respond when frustrated that will reveal whether we have been coddled and received very little instruction and teaching, or whether we have been disciplined by those who have taken the time to love us well. 

Earthly parents are to follow the model placed before us by our heavenly Father. Children are to respond, hearing and accepting that beautiful gift of discipline, instruction and teaching, which is provided for our benefit. 


Lord, may my heart be softened in your presence, willingly accepting your instruction and teaching, reflecting your beauty to the world.  Amen. 


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