August 4, 2008
Honor your Father and Mother
As I am writing this “musing,” I am flying home from Colorado after spending some time standing alongside my father on the banks of a beautiful mountain lake. If you use your imagination a bit, you can see that I am the one with a beautiful stringer of 16 inch mountain trout! Actually I only caught a couple of 10 inchers so enough of my musing about large fish.
The best part of the vacation was being with my dad (my mother passed away 10 years ago). He is 81 years old and lives with my step mom in Alabama so these summer visits are very special. I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl. I have two younger brothers but I was the one wandering behind my dad with a wrench in my hand as we fixed a bicycle tire, or changed the belt on a dryer or installed a garbage disposal. And maybe since he was career Navy and not always home for dinner when we were growing up, I learned to cherish any time with him. The boys call him “Pops” or “Dad,” I call him Daddy.
I sincerely hope that each reader of the blog also has a wonderful relationship with their parent(s). But beyond just encouraging great family relationships, today I actually want to draw your attention to the command in Exodus 20:12. Right there in the middle of the Ten Commandments is the injunction to “honor your father and mother so that you may live long.”
Usually this command is invoked in order to encourage younger children to love, respect and obey their parents. Learning to honor and obey parents at an early age sets a child up to also honor and obey God. It is an important part of learning to submit to authority.
But how does that principle apply to adult children? Are we also enjoined to honor our parents? And what does that entail? Is honor just another word for respect? And what do we do if our parents don’t actually deserve that honor?
I believe that once the child becomes independent and responsible for their own decisions, mom and dad shift from being law givers to counselors. For the adult child the “obey part” of the equation is de-emphasized and the “honor part” becomes even more important. Biblical honor for our parents is a complex matter. It involves respect, an assigning of value, worth and dignity. It calls for recognition of their senior position in life and an appreciation for their efforts to raise us (however flawed their attempts were).
So I am encouraging you today to honor your father and mother!
Honor them with time spent together. Honor them with communication filled with personal updates. Honor them by including them in family gatherings. Honor them with calls asking for counsel. Honor them with respect even when they fall a little short of deserving it. Honor them with a patience that allows you to listen – really listen to the concerns of their lives. You see, adult children have the same responsibility to honor their parents as younger children do. We just do it differently.
And, honoring them with a fishing pole in your hand might be a great way to start!
Warmest regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools