Honoring Parents: Why this command should not be ignored

The fifth commandment instructs us to honor our father and mother (Exodus 20:12). Paul’s inspired words affirm this command: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3). Honoring our parents will result in God’s blessing of a longer, more fruitful life.

Whether in the classroom or at home, the following practical tips from Dr. Scott Turansky will help children learn how to honor all people.

Honor comes when you recognize a person’s worth or value. Respect focuses on behavior, doing the appropriate thing, whereas honor comes from the heart. Respect acknowledges a person’s position, while honor attaches worth to that person. Respect teaches manners and proper behavior in the presence of others. Honor teaches something deeper, an appreciation of that person.

One of the parts of our honor definition is that we do more than what’s expected. That means seeing what needs to be done and doing it. It means solving problems instead of leaving them for others. One family had a sign in their kitchen that read:

If it’s broken, fix it.
If it’s empty, fill it up.
If it’s open, shut it.
If it’s out, put it away.
If it’s messy, clean it up.
If you can’t, then report it.

That’s honor.

Take time to teach kids that they don’t have to wait for an instruction in order to do a job. Honor means that we’re looking for what needs to be done and taking initiative. In fact, you may instruct a child to go around the house and look for one job that needs to be done and do it, and then report back to you.

These kinds of discussions and activities will help children think beyond themselves and discover that they have a responsibility to the family. They can contribute to family life by just seeing something that needs to be done and doing it on their own.

Of course, that’s what makes a successful student and a valuable employee too so you can teach your children something more important than just how to get along better in your family. You’re preparing them to be outstanding students, employees, friends, teammates, and even spouses as they get older. 1

Kids Need Respect

Kids ask, “Why should I show respect?” Some children resist showing courtesy or appreciation to others. This behavior is often a response to not feeling respected or valued themselves. Children who receive little esteem rarely respect other people or their property.

Respect is a critical ingredient in all human relationships—and a two-way street. God commands parents to treat their children with love and consideration. Similarly, God requires children to honor and respect their parents. Just as parents should insist on receiving respect from their children, they are obligated to model it in return.

Above all, teach your child to respect and honor God. Reverence for God and His Word directly influences every person’s self-concept and the way he or she treats others. Explain the “spiral principle”—the more respect your child shows to others, the more respect he or she will receive from others (Galatians 6:7-10). Live in such a way that you merit respect. Your child will treat you and other adults accordingly.

Dr. Bob Deffinbaugh aptly summarizes: “We honor our parents most when we obey and honor God in our lives. The highest goal of parents is to raise the child God has entrusted to them in such a way as to encourage and promote trust in God and obedience to His Word. Whenever a child trusts in God and obeys His Word, He honors his parents. Even an unbelieving parent is honored by a believing and obedient child.” 2

Kids who learn about “honor” change the way they relate to parents, siblings and others. Here are two new booklets that will assist you in teaching this powerful commandment.

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1 Dr. Scott Turansky. Biblical Parenting. Web. 2013.
2 Bob Deffinbaugh. Between Child and Parent – Honoring Father and Mother.

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