“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9
Knowledge without application is useless. Possessing knowledge or wise instruction without applying it to one’s life is just plain stupid. Proverbs 1:8-9 warns the reader to hear, know and keep the teachings. Those who apply the teachings will have a joyful, fulfilling life. In this passage, there are a couple of important things I noticed. First, parents have the responsibility to teach morality and good life skills to their children. In the United States today, too many of us have succumbed to the professionalization of all aspects of life. Where once Americans were known for their self-reliance, now we employ professionals to do all of the things we can’t be bothered with mastering. Handymen make minor repairs in our homes. Physical trainers assist us with exercising (something we did naturally as children). Mechanics fix our cars. Teachers train our children not just with reading, writing, and arithmetic; we also have tasked them to teach our children how to live morally.
Teachers should not be expected to raise our children. Furthermore, when public educators are expected to teach morality, one must determine what moral standards are appropriate in an irreligious arena. The prevailing public standards are based on Secular Humanism. Secular Humanism is a worldview which suggests human reason, ethics and justice can lead to happy, functional lives without the influence of God or religion.
The problem with Secular Humanism is that man is the judge of what is moral. Moral standards must be constant. Morality must be universally true. That is, these standards should be true at all times and in all places. When man is the judge, morality tends to change with the whims of man. This cannot stand. God is the only constant in the universe and His precepts are prescribed in the Bible. Parents should be well versed in biblical morality and they must train their children to live accordingly.
The second thing I notice about this passage is the phrase “for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” What the writer means is the application of wisdom rewards us with health and prosperity. The garland represents health, and prosperity is represented by the pendants. Do not mistake this statement to mean that the proverbs are a recipe for wealth. People mistakenly believe they can treat the Bible as a quick fix and get rich quick scheme. It must be known that the application of wisdom over the course of a lifetime is what leads to health and prosperity.