by Joey and Carla Link
“Honor your father and mother”
(this is the first commandment with a promise),
“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Since the Bible is quite specific that children honor their parents, you would think it would be a high priority for kids to avoid being disrespectful to them. If you listen to kids talk at church, in the mall, on the phone, or how they talk to their parents, you must wonder if they have heard of these verses in Ephesians.
The dictionary says to show “honor” is “to regard with great respect.” The word “respect” is “to hold worthy of value or honor.” Do kids today respect their parents? Do your kids respect you? Here are words that are linked to the word “respect”. Ask yourself if your children show these things to you. Do your kids esteem you? Do they admire you, appreciate you, show you value, cherish and adore you, show you reverence?
Have you ever spent time teaching your kids what “honor” looks like? If not, where are they learning it, and from whose perspective?
Here are 3 ways to teach your kids honor:
- Be intentional – Recently in one of our parenting classes I asked the parents if they had taught their children what honor means and how to show it to those they respected. One Dad was quick to say they had. I asked him to share with the other parents how they had done this with their kids, and neither he nor his wife could come up with a time they had addressed the subject of showing honor. Unless we are intentional in our efforts to teach our kids Godly values, we may expect them to know something no one has ever brought to their attention. You want your kids to learn to show honor to others? If so, you will need to come up with a plan to do so.
- Be a model – Jesus told his disciples to go prepare the Passover meal. It was a lot of work, much like our Thanksgiving dinners. In all the preparations of putting together this great meal, the disciples forgot one small detail. Dirty feet were the result of walking on dirt roads. When you arrived in a building, someone at the door, usually a servant washed your feet. The disciples forgot to assign someone this duty. Jesus took this opportunity to show His disciples what honor was and He washed each disciple’s feet before they ate. When He returned to the table, Jesus said,
“You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have given you an example,
that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
- Actions teach more than words – We were recently interviewed about our books and I (Carla) was asked how I have seen benefits in my family by living out Titus 2:5 which tells older women to be “reverent in behavior (show honor!)… to train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled…Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned.” (Titus 2:5-8)
This was my response: “Well, this is not an easy question to answer so I asked my daughters what they thought. They said first of all, I showed them how to be a child of God, a wife and mother. One of my daughters said she remembered a time her dad was tired, cranky and out of sorts for a few days. She found me sitting at the kitchen table writing in cards. She asked who the cards were for and I told her they were for her dad. I was trying to encourage him by letting him know in each card things I appreciated about him and I was going to put them in places I knew he would find them. She asked me to take her to the store so she could get a card for him too, so she could let him know in a special way she loved him.
They both went on to say they were glad I taught them how to lead a Bible Study group by first leading one myself with them and their friends, then having each of them lead one while I was there to help if necessary. They said I taught them more by doing than talking. While they were growing up, whatever I did I included them too as my mother had done with me. When I was teaching young moms, they planned activities for their children, when I taught the 2’s & 3’s Department at church I had them plan lessons and take turns teaching the class. Learning by doing – this is what I believe Titus 2 is all about. (This interview can be found in its entirety on the Parenting Made Practical Pinterest page)
Honor is a concept we need to teach our children. It is also a very difficult one for them to learn or grasp because it means they must humble themselves and elevate others above themselves just like Jesus did in washing the feet of the disciples. But this is not normal. We think of ourselves first.
I am reminded of a song that was a popular praise chorus years ago. We sang it in as a round and it went like this:
“Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord,
Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.”
The more we humble ourselves and elevate Jesus and how He wants us to live, the more God can and will use our lives which will give us long life and the blessings we crave.