What is very unique about this speech is that there are three generations in view. The father tells his sons what his father told him. “When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me . . .” (Proverbs 4:3–4, ESV). This is very similar to a classic text in Psalm 78:5–6 (ESV),
“5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children. . ..”
The psalmist recalls that the fathers of Israel were commanded to teach their children the law of God and we notice what is in view as these parents obeyed: they were in fact teaching a generation yet unborn. Why? It seems to be a very natural tendency to pass on to our children the things that our parents taught us. Of all the things that one generation passes to the next, this proverb reminds us what is the most important thing to pass on.