Happy Mother’s Day! As I wait for the coffee to be ready on this beautiful Sunday morning, my mind is mulling over the question one of our teen leaders from church asked me earlier this week: “As the mother of teenagers, how do you teach your children to honor their parents?”
Well, as the mother of teens, I wonder almost daily if I HAVE taught my children to honor their parents. It certainly does not always appear so. You cannot make one person honor another. You can tell them it’s good for them ’til you’re blue in the face (“Hey, you want to live a long and prosperous life, don’t you???”), but you really have to SHOW them for it to stick. So, how do you do that??
- Show them that you honor your own parents. Watch the way you talk about your parents in front of your children. Demonstrate unconditional love towards your parents, so your children can watch and learn. Honor your parents’ wishes and dreams…. even if you cannot follow them or fill them, you can honor them by acknowledging them. Walk in love with your parents, forgiving them readily for the mistakes they make and asking forgiveness for your own mistakes. Tell your parents you love them and appreciate them!
- Show them that you honor each other. All children have two parents. You may be married and raising a child together, or you could be divorced and sharing your child between you and your ex, or you might be single and raising a child without the other parent in the picture. Whatever your situation, give honor to the other parent of your child (if for no other reason than the fact that your child would not exist without that person).
- Honor your child. As a parent of two very strong-willed children, I know this is not always easy. In fact, I believe I have fallen down in this area many, many times. But our children must see that we honor and esteem them, not only for the potential we see in them, but also for who they are right now, today! Praise your child for who they are, not just what they do. It is important to acknowledge their efforts and accomplishments, but we all need to know that we are valuable even when those efforts fail.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t add that we all must first honor God. Our daily walk with Him is more real to our kids than to anyone else. They are always watching, after all!! If they see that we honor Him in all we do, they will learn how to honor others.
I don’t know when it is that we know that we know that our children honor us as parents. My theory is that it is sometime after they turn 25. Somewhere around there, children have the epiphany that they really don’t know everything and Mom and Dad actually knew what they were talking about…. most of the time!
While many of us are years away from that magical moment, we must strive to praise and honor every practice step these little ones make towards honoring us…
…every dandelion picked and proudly presented
…every burnt piece of toast served up on a tray to your bedside
…every effort to help around the house without being asked
……… and every SINGLE time you hear those amazing words, “I love you, Mom.”