A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.
Proverbs 10 is where you see the short-burst, quick-hitting, bite-sized (doughnut hole) proverbs that the book is known for really begin in earnest. It even begins by declaring them “The proverbs of Solomon.”
I don’t think it is a coincidence that he leads off by talking about being a wise/foolish son. The fact of the matter is that Solomon was both, so he’s speaking from experience on both sides. He was wise beyond measure and he honored his father (you know, that David guy) by building the Temple and literally writing the book on wisdom. On the other hand, he was foolish in his following after his sinful desires (lust, greed, idolatry).
In a way this is comforting. When you start beating yourself up for stumbling on your own sin, it might help to remember that one of the wisest of all men was snared in sin’s trap. In that respect he followed in his father’s footsteps as well. Of course David’s response is our model. He showed true regret and repented of his sin, following hard after the Lord as a “man after the Lord’s heart.”
On a more general theme, this is an appropriate place to start the proverbs because wisdom starts in our youth and from following our parents’ teachings. To listen to them and learn from them is to honor them. To ignore them and thus make mistakes that could have been avoided by paying attention to their warnings is just plain foolishness. Sure, we all have to learn for ourselves, but too often I find myself learning the hard way instead of benefiting from other people’s experiences. So instead of rolling your eyes when your parents start preaching the same sermons they’ve been preaching all your life, take a moment and apply what they are teaching to your life. Then find your own way to impart that wisdom to your children. Perhaps someday they will honor you by being wise because of your teachings.