Fly with the Phoenix

Because He said so, that’s why
February 22, 2010, 12:43 am
Filed under: Family Transitions | Tags: , , ,

A final look at different roles within a family–from a biblical perspective–examines children and what they are called to do. I love this part. They are called to respect parents.

You may be thinking “Try telling that to headstrong teen boy or girl” right about now. I understand. I have one. However, it’s interesting to me that a guy 2,000 years ago–a bachelor without children–explained to a growing community of faith why the fifth commandment “honor your father and mother” is important for us and why it’s the first commandment that has a promise connected to it.

If we honor our parents, “then everything will be well with you and you will live a long time in the land that God is going to give you” (Exodus 20:12).

Some of the benefits of our children honoring us are obvious. When they do as they are asked, it’s easier for parents to have order within the household, kids are kept safe, they learn important life lessons–you probably have your own list of benefits.

Other benefits to our children honoring us are more difficult to see or grasp, but equally important–if not more so. Teaching children that God commands them to respect their parents is the beginning of their faith trek, their walk with the Almighty. Respect begins at home and naturally flows into other relationships as a result. If parents allow their kids to walk over them, there’s a good chance that child treats others poorly and will have a very difficult road ahead of them.

How then, can a parent live so that they will be honored by their children? Many of us can look to the model our parents set. My parents showed me very clear boundaries, enforced them and did all of this out of extreme love for me. When I crossed the line, I was corrected then hugged.

Right now, I’m living apart from my daughter and dealing with an extremely challenging situation surrounding honoring/respecting not only me, but my husband, her stepfather. It’s just not happening, and she’s recently made a seriously poor choice that showed incredible disrespect. I won’t air our family’s dirty laundry, but suffice it to say our bond has been compromised.

With much time to think over this situation (again and again), I can’t help but turn to the memories of my parents–both deceased–and how they might have handled something similar. I think they would apply tough discipline that would convey a lesson, forgive me and continue to love me, which is what I’m trying to do. But I also reflect on my history of disciplining my child (or lack thereof) and I’ve concluded that I should have been a tougher parent more often and saved the girlfriend routine for someone else.

All of recognize hindsight is 20/20, and it’s usually not productive to look back, unless you can learn from your mistake. For parents, like me, who may have lost their footing in the discipline and respect department, I’m hopeful we can get it back over time by applying the correction, forgiving the misdeed, showing love and remaining firm, yet calm.

Which brings to mind another verse from scripture, “love is patient, love is kind.”


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