Teaching Children to Honor their Parents
J.C. Thompson, Associate Pastor
While it might seem like a curious thing to teach our children, honor is a crucial ingredient in the life of a child. The Bible gives two responsibilities to children: Obey and Honor. See Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1.
Obedience seems like a more natural thing to teach our children. We instinctively teach our children that hearing our voice and heeding it keeps them safe, guides them to developmental opportunities, and is the pathway of learning to follow and obey God as Father.
Teaching our children honor seems a bit more awkward. I mean isn’t honor lived out best when it doesn’t have to be taught, guided or directed? Many parents fall short in training their kids to show honor to their parents and others in their life.
Parents also observe their children showing honor or lack thereof when there is a conflict with a classmate or a sibling. Honor is not just about the rule, it’s about an attitude. Honor means to make honorable. It is our responsibility to treat someone with honor in spite of their ability to be honorable. While this does mean we can disagree respectfully, we should look to find someone’s value.
Practical Ways of Training your Children to Honor
As God-fearing parents, you must not only correct behavior but also attitudes. Our children might obey the law but misunderstand the spirit of the law (see Leviticus 19:14 (NLT)). As parents we must coach our children to not only obey, but obey with a good attitude, which is an essential characteristic of honor.
As parents we tend to overuse one habit of parenting: lectures. Lectures often lack effectiveness. Instead of just lecturing our kids, let’s focus on intentionally practicing a new habit of honor. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are great times to reinforce the concept and practice of honor - it makes sense to our children during these times. These are specific days on the calendar where our children are to show us honor.
So, use this as an opportunity to teach and train your children in this principle. Ask your children these simple questions to get them started:
- What makes your mom or dad feel honored?
- What makes your parents great?
- What should the world know about your parents?
The Long Game
While we might want our children to make changes at once it’s important for us as parents to understand that these things take time to change in our children. You might have to instruct your 5-year-old 100 times before you begin to see incremental changes. Stick with it. You’ve got 18 years of investments to make!
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