20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
The father wants life and health for his son, but he cannot give them directly, Instead he presents four keys to growing in wisdom, without which his advice is wasted. The first key is to “pay attention to what I say,” and it is not as simple as one might think. It is easy to become distracted, perhaps now more than ever, if you are not deliberately paying attention. The second key is to “turn your ear to my words,” which adds further emphasis to the importance of listening. We must listen to understand, and not to respond, if we hope to grow in wisdom.
The third key is focus, “do not let [my words] out of your sight.” Be on the lookout for opportunities to follow advice, and make the most of them by putting it into practice. Sometimes obedience is the only way to learn, “do not lean on your own understanding.” The final key is meditation, “keep [my words] within your heart.” Contemplate wisdom, turn it over in your mind, and absorb it into your heart. Then no matter your circumstances, it will be there when you need it.