“I’m Not Listening”

Pouter Sophie

~ Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
(Proverbs 19:20) ~

            If you are a father, you likely have heard a version of the phrase that my daughter fired at me the other day.  As the twins have gotten older, my wife and I, like our parents, have been giving the kids chores to do in the house.  Small tasks like taking the recycling to the garage or bringing their dinner plates to the counter.  Surprisingly, Simon has taken to these new duties fairly well.  On the other hand, Sophie has not been as interested in assuming these new responsibilities.  It was about a week ago, while I was preparing dinner, when I asked Sophie to clean up her craft materials that were spread out all over the kitchen table and set the table.  The total required time to accomplish this task was about 5 minutes.  Sophie hesitated, went over to the kitchen table and sat down in the chair.  She didn’t do any or say anything, but she had her best “pouty face” on.  “Sophie,” I asked calmly, “Are you going to do what I asked?”  “Why do I always have to listen to you?” she snapped.  My response?  “Because I said so.”

After realizing the rashness of my reply, I explained to Sophie my reasoning – I ask her to perform certain tasks, like cleaning the table, so she can earn privileges, contribute to the family, and gain a sense of responsibility; I restrict some of her activities she wants to do to keep her safe, out of harm’s way and learn to discern good choices.

Aren’t we all guilty of lashing out at those in authority, asking, “Why do I have to listen to you?” As adopted children of God, we do the same thing.  God’s word provides us with instructions on how to live our lives, avoid trouble and take on responsibility. Proverbs 19:20 calls for us to “listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”   Yet, how often do we say, “Why do I have to listen to you?”   We go our own way, do our own thing and end up face hardships or damaged relationships.  After much pain, we then gain wisdom.  Proverbs 19:20 is not telling us to learn by trial and error; it is far too costly. God wants us to follow His instruction because He want to keep us safe, out of harm’s reaches and allow us to take on greater responsibility.  By heeding God’s instruction we gain wisdom and avoid the pitfalls so many others fall into around us.  He wants us to grow into contributing members, responsible individuals who know how to make good choices.

“Why do you have to listen to me, Sophie?  I want you to listen to me so that when you get older you can avoid the mistakesme and sophie that I have made in my life that have deeply wounded me and those around me.  I want you to listen to me so that you can develop a stronger faith than I have.  I want you to listen to me so you can be a responsible woman who reflects the wisdom and instruction of your heavenly Father.”