[20 My son, keep your father’s command
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching…]
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
are the way to life,
The father’s command and the mother’s teaching are the seeds of wisdom. It is essential for parents to consider the long term effects of their efforts, in light of what they hope to cultivate in their children. The son is here reminded of the benefits of obedience, which encompass the entirety of his daily routines. Who doesn’t want guidance, protection and encouragement? This also suggests that the parents have set an example of obedience, as the Lord instructs them to “Impress [these commands] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
“For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life.” While many consider commandments and rules as little more than restrictions, they are provided for our enlightenment. They help us to avoid the pain of learning things the hard way, while illuminating the dangers and opportunities on path ahead. Correction and instruction may be unpleasant in the moment, but what growth is possible without them? Embrace them to your advantage; reject them to your misfortune.