The first chapter of Proverbs sets the stage for the rest of the book. Consequently, mentions here tend to have special significance.
In this verse we have the first appearance of the phrase “my son” — a favorite in Proverbs. “My son” was frequently used in ancient wisdom literature and is suggested to often represent teacher-to-student instruction.
But it’s first used here — at the very beginning of the book — in conjunction with “your father” and “your mother” suggests s family setting. I think it also puts the entire book in the realm of wisdom to be taught, learned and practiced in the context of family relationships.
Our verse is the first in a two-verse wise saying — here “the What,” the next verse offering “the Why.”
The “What” involves two parallel commands (“listen” and “do not forsake”) — the second commands in the book (see 1:5). The instructions are “listen…to your father’s instructions and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
Especially in this first section of the book (chapters 1-9), paying attention to father’s instruction is the most frequently given command (see 1:10, 15; 2:1; 3:1, 11; 4:1, 3, 10, 20: 5:1, 7, 20; 6:1, 3, 20; 7:1, 24).
Listening to mother isn’t mentioned nearly as often (only 6:20). But I’ll suggest its appearance right here — at the very beginning — indicates it’s importance.
Consequently, I find it fascinating that the last chapter of Proverbs (31) is also instruction from mother. While dad talks a lot throughout the whole book — in the end — momma gets the last word!