Parental instructions as adornment is probably taking things a little too far by any standards!
Imagine having a note around your neck from your mom reminding you to eat your vegetables at school. Graceful? NEVER. So how does Solomon, the wisest man ever, presume to advise on instructions being a graceful chain around the neck?
Now we can’t deny that an aptly worn chain adds grace. Just the visual – a pearl necklace at an evening out, will have many drooling. Probably therein lies the secret — ‘Aptness’ in wearing the graceful chain of “Instructions”.
So how do we understand all this?
I want to capture three aspects of what we will call “Attitude Adjustments”. When I use the term Parental Instruction, please understand that it could refer to someone significant in your life. Someone who is investing into your life sacrificially.
1. Affection & Assurance:
Just as pearls around a neck screams of someone’s affection (I am making a presumption that pearls are always gifted); Parental instructions are a sign of affection. We read in the Bible:
Hebrews 12:6. “…For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.”
Again in another passage, we are reminded that discipline is painful for the moment, but will yield the fruit of righteousness.
Hebrews 12:11. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”.
Godly instructions are intended as minor corrections that prevent a major catastrophe.
So when you receive instructions, look behind the fabric and see it woven with affection. Be assured that these godly instructors are with you during your formative journey.
2. Agreement & Appreciation
This is where the rubber meets the road. It is one thing to realize that the basis of instructions is affection, but totally different when accepting it as good and important. There is a effort of learning in appreciating this influence.
Appreciation and agreement moves you to another realm– from mere acquiescence to acceptance. From a reactive mode to a proactive mindset.
I want to suggest that this is where the switch is located. The switch between being dragged to change, and walking in agreement.
However, agreement is not blind acceptance, but a conscious decision that you are willing to accept help. Agreement can be humbling to both the hormones and the testosterone.
Agreement is not emotional slavery to ‘control’; but an acknowledgement that these are voices of warning from those who have gone ahead. Listening, agreeing and appreciating godly instructions can prevent you from reinventing the wheel the painful way.
3. Agenda & Alertness
Wonder if you ever had the experience of wearing a gold chain and finding yourself in the wrong side of town; or even on the other side of midnight. Every sound is heightened, and every move cautious as you walk through that supposedly lonely street.
Life is much the same. Instructions keeps you alert and on the look out for danger. You see ‘prevention’ in a different light. You prefer avoidance than having to risk experimenting with danger.
So why wear the Chain of Instruction?
It is not the lucky amulet that protects you from danger, but strategies you can use when in danger.
These ornaments of grace is a gentle reminder that we are on an agenda.
We are work in progress. The chain, therefore, is a gift from our parents, our grandparents, pleading us to think about them, and the God they serve, in times of crises. It offers time tested solutions. It is the mother’s recipe for danger (or from danger, however, you may use them; and the portion size is customized to you).
Godly instructions are part of life’s manual. Just like the flat packaging from Ikea that doesn’t make sense without the instructions sheet, godly instructions prod us to do the right things. Doing right, even at the wrong time or wrong place that we often find ourselves in. Godly instructions holds the key at the end of the chain that opens doors in sticky situations.
I hope you are convinced? In fact there is more to this graceful Chain of Instruction, but more about it later.