Proverbs 10:1

Proverbs 10:1 "The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother."
Christian Church Buffalo NY Proverbs 10:1
The next fifteen chapters are further sayings of Solomon, but different in style than the first nine chapters.  Where the first nine chapters contained conversations that were generally linked to one another, these “proverbs of Solomon” are typically distinct sentences independent of one another.  Both sections were equally as inspired by God and both sections contain truths that we would all do well to apply to our lives.

Having just wrapped up a large section of instruction primarily intended to help a son choose wisdom, it should be no surprise to any reader that Solomon’s first independent proverb in this section refers to a child’s choice of that virtue.  As is often the case with Solomon’s proverbs, he presents two statements pertaining to one decision that help the reader grasp the ramifications of that one decision.  He didn’t just write, “a wise son maketh a glad father,” nor did he just write, “a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”  He included both statements so as to help a child understand what it truly means to reject wisdom.  If he only wrote, “a wise maketh a glad father,” a child wouldn’t be as concerned with wisdom because that child would be tempted to find other ways to make his father “glad.”  Without the second statement, a son might be tempted to think he could still make his father glad if he rejected Biblical wisdom.  He might think that becoming a successful engineer, despite not choosing Biblical wisdom, would still make his father glad.  A daughter might think that giving her father grandchildren, despite rejecting Biblical wisdom, would still make her father glad.  

It is the second statement that brings light to the first statement.  It is the second statement that clarifies how important it is to a parent that a child choose wisdom.  Nothing can soothe the sorrow that comes to a parent’s heart when their child rejects wisdom.  To reject wisdom means to accept foolishness.  There isn’t such a thing as a non-wise, non-foolish person.  If you get wisdom, you’re not foolish.  If you reject wisdom, you’re foolish.  Foolishness is the absence of wisdom.  It’s one or the other and nothing in between.  A wise son makes a parent glad while an un-wise, or foolish son makes a parent sad.  The child who rejects Biblical wisdom may find worldly wisdom and think it will make his parents glad, but it will not.  The daughter who rejects Biblical wisdom may graduate from college, secure a good job and think that will make her parents glad, but it will not.  The son who rejects Biblical wisdom may get married, give his parents grandchildren and think that will make his parents glad, but it will not.  Without wisdom, a child is foolish and a godly parent will never be glad as long as their precious child is foolish.  

While both parents will be glad when their child chooses godly wisdom, Solomon singles out a father as being glad.  More interesting, while both parents will be sad if their child rejects godly wisdom, Solomon singles out a mother as being sad.  Mothers tend to bear greater parental sorrow than fathers when watching a child reject sound reason.  Mothers tend to be heavy-hearted in the spiritual failures of their children because they tend to take a greater interest and own a greater level of investment in their children.  This greater interest and greater level of ownership starts immediately upon conception.  There is something inarguably special for a mother about carrying a child for months in the womb that a father doesn’t experience.  Fathers can more easily detach themselves from a child because they were never attached to their child by an umbilical cord.  Fathers can more easily distance themselves from the responsibilities of a child because they weren’t responsible for that child’s well-being before its birth.  Fathers can more easily ignore the heartbeat of a child because they didn’t feel it inside of them for nine months.  Mothers have a much higher emotional response to children than fathers because of that maternal bond that was created in the womb.  It is for this reason that mothers carry a greater burden when their child lacks the wisdom necessary in life to be truly successful.

Not unusual, I find the wording in this proverb insightful.  Solomon could’ve chosen to describe a mother’s response to her son’s foolishness as sadness or as sorrow but he didn’t.  Instead, he chose to use the word, “HEAVINESS.”  Given the obvious emotional bond a mother has for their child’s success because of her physical bond to that child before birth, this word takes on special meaning.  A mother’s relationship with a child begins with CARRYING the WEIGHT of that child for nine long months.  A child immediately becomes “the heaviness of his mother” upon conception.   That heaviness increases the longer the child stays in the womb.  A mother gains weight as long as that child remains in her womb not only because the child gains weight but also because of the other bodily fluids and components of carrying a child.  A mother is glad to let that child become “her heaviness” because that mother knows her child needs her.  But every mother will tell you that “her heaviness” is not something she would want to live with for the rest of her life.  “Her heaviness” restricts her from doing a lot of things.  “Her heaviness” causes her pain.  “Her heaviness” changes her body and in many cases, causes permanent damage.  “Her heaviness” makes her very uncomfortable.  “Her heaviness” makes it hard to sleep.  “Her heaviness” makes it hard for her to focus at times.  There’s nothing easy for a mother when carrying the weight of a child in her.  She’s glad to do it but she doesn’t want to do it forever.

This is the picture Solomon paints for the mother of a foolish child.  No matter the age, a foolish son becomes a tremendous weight to his mother.  No matter the age, a foolish daughter becomes a daily and nightly weight to her mother.  No matter the career, a foolish son becomes to his mother emotionally what he once was physically to her.  No matter the marriage or number of children, a foolish daughter becomes to her mother in her heart what she once was in her womb.  Mothers of foolish sons can’t sleep very well.  Mothers of foolish daughters are emotionally uncomfortable.  Mothers of foolish sons are emotionally in pain.  Mothers of foolish daughters often incur long-term damage as that stress turns the hair white and the heart weak.  “A foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”

Sons and daughters alike, your parents will always love you no matter what path in life you choose.  That being said, only choosing Biblical wisdom will bring them true joy.  If you grow up without wisdom, both mother and father will be sad because they know that your life is a ticking timebomb that will at some point result in any number of life failures.  If you go on to make money at the expense of wisdom, you will go on to become “the heaviness of your mother.”  If you go on to choose romance over virtue, you will go on to become “the heaviness of your mother.”  If you go on to choose pleasure over principle, you will do to your mother emotionally for years what you once did to her physically for months.  Your mother was glad to be “heavy” when you were without wisdom for the first nine months of your life but she will be PERPETUALLY PREGNANT with SORROW if you live the rest of your life without wisdom.
   
“A foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”

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