Proverbs 15:20

ESV A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.
NIV A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.
NASB A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother.
CSB A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.
NLT Sensible children bring joy to their father; foolish children despise their mother.
KJV A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

What does Proverbs 15:20 mean?

Once again Solomon compares the relationship of wise children to their parents. The use of the father, in one phrase, and the mother, in the second, is part of the poetic structure of the verse. As a son is obedient to and respectful of his parents, he honors the Lord, who commands, "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12; cf. Ephesians 6:1–3). The parents of a wise son experience gladness because of the child's obedience to them and to God.

However, the parents of foolish children are often the object of their offspring's hatred. Even diligent parents can have lazy or immoral children who blame their parents for their own failures. They may resent rules and discipline (Proverbs 12:1), even when it's given in a loving way (Proverbs 15:5; Ephesians 6:4). All too often, we accuse others of causing the consequences brought on by our own actions (Genesis 3:11–13; Proverbs 5:11–14). This is especially painful when parents watch it happen to their own children.

Each child is an individual; very different children can be raised by the same parents. One child honors his parents by wisely fearing the Lord and obeying the parents; another child rebels against what his parents teach him, and he rejects the Lord. Every person is accountable to the Lord for his attitudes and actions, but parents must try to steer every child in the right direction.
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