"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother' -- which is the first commandment with a promise -- 'that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'" NIV
This is a highly quoted verse -- gotta keep those kids in line. But, unfortunately, as a general rule, I don't see a lot of honoring going on in our society. Kids are so informed and world-wise that they at least can act like they don't need parents. Of course, part of it could be our fault of not giving them someone to honor -- as an absent parent or one who is not living an exemplary life. Are we being "honorable?"
What frustrates me more is when the other half of this passage is overlooked -- the parents' part -- not exasperating the children and training them in the way of the Lord. That's where many are falling short. I see many parents who demand respect from their children but don't give any back. They bark at them, order them around, but forget they are people with feelings, ideas, dreams, too. There is a fine line in maintaining as a parent that we are the authority figure and becoming an overbearing dictator. I hope I at least listen to my children and respect their opinions. And if I am remaining filled with the Spirit, I can live in a gentle attitude of caring and training, rather than bossing and rebuking. How I act as a parent is what is going to stick with my child for the rest of their life. And they will probably parent there children in the same way. So to put it in perspective, how do I want my grandchildren parented? With bullying and bossiness or respect and gentle instruction.
I know the legacy I want to leave my children. Lord, help me to live that out each day. I want to raise my children purposefully, not out of frustration or because of how their behavior reflects on me. Holy Spirit, guide my words, instruction, and attitude so my children see more of You and know the true way to live. Thank You for the privilege of discipling three amazing people to serve You.
- What does the Old Testament have to say on the raising of children? (Using a concordance, look up "child" and "children." Especially note verses in Proverbs and Deuteronomy.)
- What value did Jesus put on children? Support with Scripture.
- Do you react or respond to your children? Which way is more like Christ? (Support with examples from Christ's life.)
- What part of our "old self" can get tied up in our parenting? What results from that?
- What is the implied differences between an "authority" and a "boss?" Which is more productive and why?