God has blessed my wife and I with 6 children, of which 2 of them are sons. Our testimony as a family is an interesting one because it involves being caught up in religious, church-y living - and then later being in relationship with a very merciful, loving God. Please bear with me, because all this actually relates to the proverb for today.
Solomon tells us that the father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. At present I am the father of two sons who are righteous - and who are seeking to live their lives according to God's wisdom. Oh, by the way - I also greatly rejoice in God's goodness for giving me such sons. To write such things can be extremely dangerous, so let me explain what all this means - giving all the glory to God.
I am a pastor. I have been one for some 20+ years. During that time God has been very gracious to me - showing me mercy extensively in the midst of a great deal of stupidity. There were times that I was so given to "the ministry" that I did not love my family as I should have loved them. I also was so caught up in trying to have a "great church" in the eyes of men - that I was a horrible example of what a man of God should be - not just to my family, but to the people of Calvary Chapel. A lot of this came crashing down when a biblical discipline situation arose in our fellowship - and spiritual carnage resulted. What I (and yes I emphasize I) had built came crashing down just like Jesus said it would in Matthew 7:27-28. This not only happened at the church, but my own sons were rejecting it as well.
Then God broke me - wonderfully, graciously, mercifully broke me. I spent about 2 months weeping, confessing sin to my wife and my children - and to the church as well. It was during that time that I laid all my plans for me being a great pastor and preacher at the feet of Jesus - and decided I just wanted to love, know, and obey Him. God was so merciful in responding that the repentance and brokenness by drawing my two sons to Himself and making them righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. He slowly began to transform my sons, my family, and the fellowship He so graciously allowed me to continue to pastor. We are far from perfect - but as long as we seek Him and do what He says - things will go well.
This Proverb says that the father of the righteous will greatly rejoice. That does not mean that the father rears his sons to be righteous in themselves - for that would only be self-righteousness. He rears his sons to see that the only way they can be righteous is to turn in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ. Having their righteousness in Him - they can begin to walk as godly men - looking to and trusting Him at all times. What the father seeks to do is to be sure that he has "wise" sons. Since we know that wisdom is seeing all things from God's perspective - and making choices according to that way of seeing things - this means that his boys learn to have a biblical worldview, and live according to God's will rather than their own. If a father sees this - he rejoices. That wonderful gift has been given to me two times over. It also has been given to me in spite of my early years of stupidity and self-driven living.
The writer of Proverbs says to the sons that they should let their father and mother be glad - especially the mother who gave birth to them. Too many children spend their lives trying to please their parents by doing whatever they want them to do. That may seem like a contradiction to what I just said - but it is not. If a parent is wise in the way that they rear their child, they will make certain that their child knows that the most important thing in life is to live by God's will - not just by what their parents desire. Of course, this includes the commandment to honor and obey parents. But a wise mom and dad are certain to direct their child only to hear their voice as a precursor to listening to God's voice. The wise parent also knows that during their teen years their children need to transition from just listening to a parent - to listening to God and doing as He says. A child who remains dependent upon a parent throughout their lives will not be a wise child. They have to come to the point of starting their own family - and rearing another generation of kids who start by listening to their parents, and who later in life transfer that teachability to God's voice and the Scriptures.
My wife and I have strived to do this with our children. We've failed as often as we've succeeded - with all successes being due to following God's counsel. But know this - it is not easy - and parenting is not for cowards. If you do this properly - your children will marry - and will leave the home. If we rear them to treasure the gospel and take seriously their responsiblity to God and to the world for proclaiming it - there is a good chance they may take seriously that command to go to all the nations. We've already watched three do this - and a fourth is probably on her way. That means as we rejoice, there is also a little bit of heart-ache as we send them to the ends of the earth - not knowing if they will ever return. But then again, what greater joy can we have as parents than to follow the example of God Himself, Who gave His Son away so that the nations might be saved?