Questions From Readers
● What is the point of the proverb that says: “The ridiculer you should strike, that the inexperienced one may become shrewd; and there should be a reproving of the understanding one, that he may discern knowledge”?
This proverb is found at Proverbs 19:25, and it calls our attention to two different methods of instruction. Parents can be aware of both.
As the proverb first points out, for an inexperienced or simple person to learn the need to avoid wrongdoing, he might have to see punishment come to a ridiculing hardened wrongdoer. The forceful action serves to teach the inexperienced one. For him, it will likely be a strong deterrent. The understanding one, however, does not need such a powerful warning lesson. Often it is enough for him to hear words of reproof; he quickly accepts the counsel and applies it.
Many parents have seen the truthfulness of these words, and others may yet do so and benefit through application of this proverb. In order to learn to avoid a wrong course, sometimes a child needs to be faced with strong discipline, such as a spanking (either seeing it come to another, or experiencing it personally). Though at first such discipline might seem unpleasant both to the child and to the parents, the outcome can prove that it is worth while. (Heb. 12:11) The child can be brought to the condition described at the end of Proverbs 19:25.
In many cases where a child consistently receives firm, molding correction from parents, he advances to the point where he is able to learn from parental words of reproof or advice. What a fine lesson for us to learn early in life!