Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 23:22
"Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old"
One would expect that in the culture of the Old Testament this verse would not need to be said. The fact that Solomon wrote it and God allowed it to be included in inspired Scriptures means that every culture has this problem of dishonoring authorities, dishonoring parents, ignoring responsibilities, and overemphasis on independence. It means that selfishness tends to flow in these directions, and it must be stopped in righteous people.
This is the Hebrew word sama, which means hear, listen to, obey. This word is much more intensive in its meaning than our idea of listen. It carries the idea of pay attention to or, in many cases, obey. Solomon is not just saying that we should listen to our parents tell us stories when they are older and we are independent adults. He is saying that we need to make sure that we are really paying attention to what they are saying. We are no longer in the chain of command where we have to obey our parents, but they need to be treated as significant adults in our life. They need us and we need to pay attention to what they are saying and what their soul means. It is too easy to just disregard them as life speeds up and we have our own life to lead. Solomon says that would be a mistake. They still have wisdom to impart. They still are a significant person to love and receive love from. Do not write them out of your life either explicitly or implicitly.
Don't miss the point. Pay attention to what your father and mother are saying even when you are an adult and don't have to obey them. Pay attention to their angle on your issues. Pay attention to their issues. Pay attention to their point of view on the culture they are not as enmeshed in as you are at the present. Pay attention to what their soul and body are saying even though their words never talk about it.
This is the Hebrew word buz, which means to despise, scorn, hold or treat as insignificant, contempt. It is interesting that you can despise something by treating it as insignificant. Solomon is screaming at us to not get so wrapped up in our lives that we devalue our parents to the point where they do not have any value, place, or impact in the life we have created. This would be a mistake, he declares. Even though they are old, they still have much to contribute. Even though you don't have to obey them, they still may have counsel that is crucial to finding the wise course of action.
One of the things that Solomon is saying is that in your search for the wise choice, do not forget to get your parents’ perspective. The choices that you are considering hold emotional power over you that your parents will be able to contemplate without the same emotional interaction. They may see a new choice that you cannot see.
When Dana and I are trying to make a decision on a major item, we follow a set pattern that I have taught to many couples. We go through a discussion phase where we talk about what we think and feel about a particular idea or thing. Then we go through an options phase where we both talk about ways to move forward on that area that we have thought of. Then we go through the counsel phase where we both will suggest who we think we need to talk to in order to make a good decision. We always put our parents in this phase of the decision-making process. Then we go through a prayer phase where we pray about the possible choices and opportunities that we have discovered. Then we go through a decision phase where we will start slowly moving toward the decision.