At first look this proverb might look a little prejudiced, giving dad all the gladness and mom the pleasure of being despised by the foolish son. Yet the proverb actually reveals some interesting things to us about children and how they affect both parents as they grow older and make choices according to the way that we have taught them.
One would think this proverb is about parents and their reward for rearing godly children, but it is not. It is rather a proverb dealing with children - and is a warning to them. First, we see that a wise son makes his father glad. When you see a son who is wise, he is going to be the delight of both parents, but especially his dad. He will speak glowingly of his boy, not because of all his achievements, but rather because he acts with wisdom in all his ways. You can have a very successful son in the eyes of the world, and still have a child who is a fool. Many fortunes have been won then lost because a young man is filled with business savvy, but has no wisdom in the way he lives with the riches he amasses. A wise son, though not rich or wealthy, is such a delight to his father. He watches his boy make good decisions - to love his wife and his children. He watches as his boy makes decisions according to the wisdom his father has taught him - both his earthly and heavenly Father that is.
Our proverb turns to the mother though, and refers to how her foolish son treats her. The passage says that he despises her. The word for "despises" is the Hebrew word "bazah" which means to hold in contempt and disdain; to consider worthless or vile. It is quite a strong word and it indicates a child who is very foolish because he does not appreciate his mother. He holds her in contempt even though she has loved him and cared for him. Many a foolish boy is ashamed of his mother - and cringes when she shows him love openly. Such a young man will not be blessed in his life, because he disdains one of the choicest servants he will ever know. In despising his mother like this, he disains his father on earth - her husband, and he disains his Father in heaven - her maker and the One who gave her to him.
How a child views his mother has much to say about his heart. The child who is more concerned with looking cool to his friends will treat his mother with contempt and disdain. He breaks her heart often - even though she continues to serve and love him. This young man has no humility or gratefulness, which will come back to haunt him later in life. He spurns her wisdom for the opinions of his foolish friends. Solomon's son did this with his father's advisors and watched his kingdom split as a result.
Oh, young man - and honestly, even older men. Treasure the mother that God gave you as one of His choicest gifts. Openly acknowledge her to others and praise her before your friends. I often tell people that when a young man courts your daughter, pay close attention to how he treats his mother. You are watching in that how he will one day treat your daughter. When a man cannot love and honor and treasure his mom, you are looking at a fool. That fool will not prosper in ways that matter for eternity - you can bank on the Word of God that this will be true. Therefore fathers, teach your sons by your actions and attitudes to honor their mothers - to thank them for all that they have done for them. Teach them that this is practice for having a prosperous and delightful marriage. If they cannot treasure the woman who they can see - how will they be ready to treasure one they have not seen yet?