I have numerous times been asked the question of when a young person should stop obeying their parents. Many think that just because our laws state that a person is an adult when they are 18 that they have the luxury of no longer obeying their parents. I honestly see no such statement made by Scripture. I believe a child no longer needs to obey his parents when he or she is married. Once that has taken place the child no longer is beholden to do what his parents say. But, one wise thing a person should always do is to listen to their parents - even when they are old. That is because they are an excellent source of wisdom.
Our society does not do much to honor the aged among us. Ours is a youth culture - and we value youth, beauty, and strength. Nowadays we see the older among us as people who tend to get in our way as they talk about the past - or they offer decidedly outdated advice from days gone by. Before I put that on anyone else - I will have to admit that I have been infected by those concepts over the years. I have noticed that much of the good advice that I was given by my parents - and by those much older than me would have blessed me and kept me from problems if I had listened and heeded it.
Here we see Solomon telling his son to listen to his father. The natural flow of life should be for a father to offer godly advice to his son. This should be easy for the son to receive because of the committment that he has seen over the years from his father. The son knows that the father has nothing in mind except the very best for his son. Having seen this over the course of his lifetime, the son has no great difficulty listening and even following his father's advice. It is astounding how smart our parents get when we have children of our own and begin being responsible for the financial decisions and family decisions that map out for us our future. In those hours we realize that we would joyfully listen to advice and counsel given from our father and mother.
The second thing Solomon says to his son is for him not to despise his mother when she is old. The word for despise here means to hold someone in contempt and scorn. The one who acts this way is disrespectful to his mother. I think the reason we are counselled that wisdom is NOT to scorn or hold you mother in contempt is because mothers will speak the truth to you. They will always have that mother's instinct to protect and care for their children. But as children get older, they can come to resent this in their mom. Yet the wise son would never disrespect or dishonor his mom. He would listen to her - even when she is mothering him a little. The wise son realizes that this woman has loved him his entire life - and wants only the very best for him.
We may not have to obey our parents once we are married - but a wise man never stops listening to what they have to say. And if the parents are wise, they will choose their words and their disagreements wisely so that their children are able to hear all that they have to say. This is the way that the relationship between parent and adult child can flourish - to the blessing of both parties.