When I was my father’s son,
Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 He also taught me, and said to me:
“Let your heart retain my words;
Keep my commands, and live.
Faithful fathers teach. Solomon thinks out loud to his son, back to the time when King David taught him. He remembers that David did a good thing. He taught him, and pleaded with him from the heart to follow his godly example.
This convicts us in several ways. One trap home schoolers fall into is letting mom do all the educating, and thus all the discipleship. Fathers consider it the feminine realm and don’t touch it, out of simple neglect or some foolish machismo that doesn’t want to get involved in women’s work. This is a grave sin of omission men need to confess, and then start engaging with our children on a heart level.
That’s the second conviction. We are shepherding hearts, not training pets, building projects, or scheduling events. To shepherd a child requires honesty, respect, sincerity, kindness, patience, forgiveness – toward your children. It is easy to demand these things of your children, but harder to demonstrate them first. We are to exhort and command our children to follow God’s ways. And we must tell them, like Paul told the Corinthians, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” This is one of the most convicting things you can say to anyone. And it is essential to parents teaching their children successfully.