- At age 4, we say “Dad & Mom can do anything!”
- At age 12, “Dad & Mom don’t know everything.”
- At age 14, “Dad & Mom don’t know anything!”
- At age 18, “Dad & Mom are out of step with the times.”
- At age 25, “Dad & Mom know a few things.”
- At age 35, “Before we decide let’s get Dad & Mom’s opinion.”
- At age 45, “I wonder what Dad & Mom would say about this?”
- At age 65, ” I wish I could talk with my Dad or Mom.”
How do you honor your parents? It depends on what stage of life you’re in. Each stage you apply this command differently.
AS A CHILD, I HONOR MY PARENTS BY OBEYING AND RESPECTING THEM.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1)
How does a child honor their parents? Do what they say, willfully, pleasantly, immediately. The Bible teaches that as long as you’re under your parent’s roof you’re to obey them. Since you are dependent upon your parents for food, clothing, shelter, insurance… they have the right to call the shots in your life. When you’re out on your own that’s a different issue. But as long as they are providing for you and you’re dependent upon them, the Bible says, you are to obey them.
AS A YOUNG PERSON, I HONOR MY PARENTS BY ACCEPTING AND APPRECIATING THEM.
The older you get, you start seeing the faults of your parents. You start seeing their hangups, faults, the chinks in the armor. It becomes important for you to accept them in spite of their weaknesses. Why should I choose to accept my parents? You say I didn’t have a choice. Neither did they. You’re kind of stuck with each other. That’s why acceptance is vital. Acceptance does not mean pretending that they are perfect. It doesn’t mean ignoring their mistakes. It doesn’t mean agreeing with all they did or agreeing with all they ask you to do.
I would suggest that there are at least two things you could appreciate about your parents regardless of who they are:
- You can appreciate their effort. Parenting is a difficult, time-demanding, energy draining job.
- You can appreciate their sacrifice. Parenting is expensive. So you should appreciate the sacrifice. What could your parents have afforded if they hadn’t spent that money on you, and your clothes, your school, your doctor bills?
AS AN ADULT, I HONOR MY PARENTS BY AFFIRMING AND NOT ABANDONING THEM.
For many parents, the older they get the less respect they get. All of their affirming friends start to die off. They are no longer wanted in the market place for their skills and wisdom. Their grown children are busy with their own families. They often lead lonely lives. Parents have a great need to feel and to know that they made some kind of positive contribution in your life. They need affirmation. How do you do that?
You affirm your parents by staying in touch with them. Every time you write a letter, a card, make a call, you’re obeying this command — honor your father and mother. To honor means to understand the significance of. I would encourage you to share with them the details of your life. They’re very interested.
It is interesting to me that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, dying for the sins of the world, one of the things that He did was to care for His aged mother after He was gone. Hanging on the cross, dying in pain, one of the seven last things He said looking down at John the disciple, “Take care of My mother.” While He’s dying for the world He does not forget to provide for the care of His mother.
How do you honor your parents?
You can read some of my other articles about parents: The Value of Respect for Parents, The Hardest Job in the World – Parent, Why Children of Christian Parents Abandon the Faith, Powerful Principle of Three Chairs.