Seeds of the Word - The fool despises his father’s instruction

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Our father will always be ahead of us in wisdom, for he has lived longer

Through the Book of Proverbs, God has revealed to us a series of warnings, maxims, and precepts that help us live our life. As we celebrate Father’s Day in June, it helps to reflect on this proverb: “The fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who needs admonition is prudent.” (Proverbs 15:5)

God blesses us always through someone else. When we are born, the Lord commissions a man to represent his divine paternity before us: our dad. We become alive knowing nothing. As we grow, we owe our dad a big amount of the knowledge we gain. Our father will always be ahead of us in wisdom, regardless of how mature we become, because he has always lived longer. He has always rejoiced more than us, suffered more than us, made more mistakes than us and come back to the right track more times than us.

Yet, how hard it is for many to allow their father to correct them when they fail. The stubborn child, the belligerent adolescent, and the arrogant adult alike, refuse to be corrected by their father. They disregard that he has lived longer and has more experience. Even worse, they disdain the deep love that moves a father to correct his children for the sole purpose of willing them to be better, to stay on track, and to leave behind those mistakes that block their journey.

It is for this reason that the Book of Proverbs also warns us: “The man who remains stiff-necked and hates rebuke will be crushed suddenly beyond cure.” (Proverbs 29:1) The one who refuses to be corrected by his father, remains in error without any doubt. And remaining in that error on purpose, is definitely foolish, as Proverbs says. The prudent thing to do, as this holy book also says, is to accept our father’s instruction.

As you celebrate your father this month, I invite you to recall how many times you have refused to listen to him. Perhaps you have thought, or even said, painful words such as: “What does he know, if he lacks of my college degrees?”, “How can he dare to rebuke me, when he has done worse things?”, “Why bother listening, if he is a very old man?”

Acknowledge that if your dad lacks your college degrees, it is because of him that you have them. Realize that if he has done worse things than you, no one knows better than him why you should not follow his path. Accept the fact that if he is getting old, he has lived longer and it is because of his age that he will always be more experienced than you.

But most of all, remember that every time your dad corrected you, he did so because he loves you like no one else. Your dad has always wished the best for you. His biggest dream is that you become better than him. And God granted him the authority to represent Him before you when your mistakes draw you away from Heaven.

Embrace your dad on Father’s Day and thank him aloud for every time he corrected you. He will feel blessed when he realizes he has made of you a grateful child.

Be passionate about our faith!

Mauricio I. Pérez, a member of St. Monica Parish on Mercer Island, is a Catholic journalist. His website is