The book of Proverbs is written by Solomon to his son. God declares Solomon to be the wisest man to have ever lived and ever will live; 1 Kings 3:12 (NLT): “I (God) will give you (Solomon) what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have!” We can reason based on God’s declaration that our children can safely heed Solomon’s wise advice.
In Proverbs 23:17-18, Solomon speaks to his son, “Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the LORD. You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.” In today’s language he might say, “Don’t fret over your friends who appear to be having a great time doing what they shouldn’t be doing, but rather choose to please the Lord.” Solomon goes on to say:
My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course. Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.Proverbs 23:19-21 (NLT)
We can mistakenly assume that our children can be trusted until they prove otherwise. In a sense, we are turning our heads and ignoring their vulnerability. The challenge comes in “unproven or untested” territory; i.e., what they actually do when faced with a decision. We cannot name one good thing that comes from underage drinking, but we can name many sorrows that do. Our children are unwise to many threats because they still need our protection.
We must acknowledge that the “best” may not be the “coolest or most popular” among their peers, nor is proper parenting going to always make us popular. Children need our wise protection. We cannot afford to set them up to fail by the situations we allow them to be in. It is a parent’s place to protect, and we cannot presume in today’s culture that other adults share our values. Our children, unlike previous generations, may have their mistakes follow them for the rest of their lives in a more tangible way on social media, cell phones, and other technology. Our protection will go far in helping them minimize that threat. They will thank you later. A parent’s protection speaks the language of love.
Solomon goes on to describe for his son the result of the drunkard:
Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”Proverbs 23:29-35 (NLT)
The best offensive tool to deal with regret is prevention.