5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
If you were to give advice to a child, what would it be? The father’s first priority here is that his son get wisdom. This is much more than “get good grades,” though a wise student has a good chance at that. But there are also unwise ways to get good grades. In fact, there are unwise ways to pursue anything. Only one thing will keep you from going after the right things in the wrong way. This is why wisdom is essential. To get wisdom is to grow in character, to become competent in dealing with reality. The wise can always be trusted, but the unwise are bound to cause trouble.
Three ways to get wisdom are suggested here. The first is to trust the advice of your elders. This is the virtue of faith. There will be times when their advice doesn’t make sense to you. Have faith in their authority and follow it anyway. Chances are you’ll understand it after you obey. If you turn away from advice you will learn your lessons the hard way, remember this also and have more faith the next time.
“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you.” This is the virtue of hope. When it seems the only way to succeed is to cheat, when you’re tempted to be discouraged, have hope. There is an honest way, and hope will enable you to find it. It can be difficult to do the right thing, but it is dangerous to deceive your way into anything. What will protect you from being found out?
“Love her, and she will watch over you.” The greatest of the virtues is love. Love inspires self-sacrifice for the sake of another. It empowers us to be courageous, and keeps us from conceit. Wisdom may insist that you sacrifice an opportunity, a bad habit, or an unhealthy relationship. The more you love wisdom, the easier the sacrifices will be. Love is also reciprocal – commit yourself to wisdom and she will commit herself to you.