Does God want us to honor our parents? Or is that only for children?
Honoring Parents: Young and Old
The answer is yes! We need to honor our parents as we teach our children to honor us. The best way to teach your children to honor you is by example. When they see us honor our parents, they learn what honor means.
So, what does honor mean? To honor and respect our parents means that we have high regard for them. We love and appreciate them and are concerned about their well-being. We treat them with courtesy and thoughtful consideration. We seek to understand them better.
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 go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Do we have to honor if we disagree with our parents? While we might disagree on things, yes, we can still honor our parents.
Is there a time you stop honoring your parents? No! God instructs Christians to keep honoring their parents even when they are adults.
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.”
God wants us to listen to our parents. We can learn a lot by listening to their sage advice. Of course, we aren’t required to do as they say, but there is no harm in hearing their thoughts.
God works through imperfections. If your parents weren’t perfect, I encourage you to forgive them. Ask the Lord for wisdom to love them despite their shortcomings.
God knows mistakes will be made and provides a way for us to handle them. We can learn from what we’ve done wrong, apologize, and move forward.
God will bless you when you choose to honor your parents. This truth needs to be taught to our children by our example.
God promises you will be blessed when you show honor to your parents.
I have a challenge for you: Find ways that you can show honor to your parents. What can you do to show honor? How can you teach your children to honor you as their parents? When you think about it, we show honor in three ways: what we say, what we do, and how we act. You show honor to others through your words, actions, and body language.
Three Ways to Show Honor to Parents
Words: It’s the simple things: saying thank you, giving a word of encouragement, and affirming them in what they are doing.
Actions: Invite your parents over. Asking for their advice or input when deciding on an important matter isn’t a sign of weakness or incompetence. Help them with tasks they might need assistance with like doing yard work, or deep cleaning, or taking them to the doctor. Or just spend time listening to them talk about their day.
Body language. We often think we only show honor through our words and deeds, but another way to show honor is by our body language. This means not showing displeasure through your tone of voice or facial expressions. Our parents may be older, but they still can sense when someone is annoyed or irritated with them. Learn to control your body language, communicate love, and strengthen your relationship with your parents.
The more you practice honoring your parents, the easier it becomes. Remember, honor comes from the heart! If your parents have passed away, you can still show them honor, by the way you speak about their life.
Don’t forget: When you fall short, you can always apologize and try again!
Ask the Lord to allow you to see through your parent’s eyes. Ask the Lord to reveal any heart issues you might be harboring against your parents or that your child might have against you. Ask him to help you pay careful attention to your body language. Commit to honoring your parents!
Are your school-aged kids at risk? How will this back-and-forth sort of schooling impact our kids? First, the back and forth disrupts children’s rhythm and routine. They don’t know what to expect when things change from day to day. Some children can roll with the ebbs and flows with great ease, but the disruption throws them off for other children. So what can you do as a parent to keep your kids from being at risk?
Children thrive on routine and consistency. But, unfortunately, the back-and-forth of schools opening and closing can harm children, especially when parents must work full-time. But there are ways to help your children and their friends navigate the back-and-forth so they don’t get behind.
Giving a child supplemental work can be helpful to reinforce skills previously taught. Elementary students will benefit from hands-on learning. Cooking, playing, making crafts are fun ways to apply what they have learned. Middle and high school students can benefit from worksheets that help them practice math and English concepts.
Avoid Talking Negatively
It is wise to avoid talking negatively about what’s happening. Some children won’t react well and can get quite upset. By being careful of what we say in front of our children and what they hear from well-meaning adults, our children are more likely to stay calm.
Should Parents Hover?
It’s important for parents not to view their desire to help their children as hovering. Instead, think of it as helping your children make academic progress by coming alongside them. Parents can offer critical feedback as well as identify when a child starts to struggle.
Setting expectations can help your children continue to make forward progress. But we do want to make sure those expectations are realistic. Look for progress that is commensurate with their ability. Try not to compare siblings or allow online educators to compare your child with others in the course.
Children do need to understand they are caught in the middle of this back-and-forth. Parents need to remember that children can get frustrated by not having a say in anything right now.
There are ways to incentivize our kids to stay on track so they aren’t at risk!
Be positive about their day. Kids need reassurance that it’s all going to be OK.
Monitor your environment. Children feed off their surrounding environment.
Tell your children the plans for the next day on the night before. You can talk about the next day at dinner or during bedtime.
Remind them in the morning of your conversation the previous night.
Keep some consistent routines. Wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed.
Give children a reason to follow your instructions. Kids love rewards.
Whether your children are being impacted directly, they can still get caught in the back-and-forth of what is happening and their education. However, your wise counsel and discerning spirit can keep your children from being at risk.
Parents, you have the opportunity to shape and create memorable moments your children will think about for years. A few years ago, I read The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. If you’ve read Parenting beyond the Rules, then you know I write about how we can create defining moments with our children. I was doing this when my children were young, which is why I enjoyed reading the book. It affirmed much of what I believed about memory-making. I knew childhood memories were important. I also knew most of my childhood memories were ones I did not want to remember. Actually, there are very few childhood memories I care to remember. That is why I became so passionate about creating memorable moments with my family.
What do I mean by creating defining moment? It is something intentional that we do. It’s paying attention to the things your child does or says and positively commenting on them. Creating a memorable moment isn’t something we ignore and hope they remember. Instead, we can help focus positive attention on the event they are experiencing.
Shaping your children’s memories isn’t an attempt to write the story you want but to bring awareness to a positive moment they will reflect on later in life.
“Memory believes before remembering begins.”
Think about that for a moment. Memory believes before knowing remembers. Your kids will draw off the memories you help them create today, the good and the bad. So, naturally, we want our kids to think back on their childhood with fondness.
Creating Memorable Moments
We make memories every day. Some are lasting, and others are forgotten. So, if we are constantly making memories, how can we create memorable moments that your children will dwell on?
Memories come in a variety of ways. But in this episode, I talk about three ways you can create defining moments.
The memories associated with traditions will help your children focus on things they do that bring them joy and delight. Traditions can also make your child feel strong or proud of themselves. Children thrive when they have a bank of positive memories to look back on.
Traditions are the repeated activities a family or group of people do together to create shared meaning about such interactions. For example, birthday celebrations, group camping trips, holiday gatherings, or reaching a milestone are a few of the traditions we can establish to create memorable moments.
Repeated actions can be ordinary actions the deepen the shared experience to increase meaning.
Rituals are religious or solemn ceremonies consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. Rituals can be added to a tradition to enhance its meaning further. They might include praying together before meals or at bedtime. Taking flowers to a friend who is not feeling well. Going around the room and saying something positive about the person next to them.
One ritual we had was to stop and pray for the people involved in an accident. My kids still pray for others when they see an accident on the side of the road. This simple act made an impression on them. It didn’t cost anything, but it did make them consider what others might be going through.
Creating memorable moments can happen by performing tasks that make a family run smoothly. They feel part of something greater than themselves. By assigning tasks to each member of the family, children quickly learn that they are needed. Cleaning the kitchen, folding the laundry, working in the yard are all ways our kids express themselves.
I’ll never forget when my oldest child decided to eat a worm while we were raking the leaves. He wanted to get a reaction from his siblings. They didn’t disappoint. We were all grossed out. We still laugh about that. Some of your children are like that too. They will do things when everyone is working on a task to make others laugh or get attention.
When you assign tasks to your children, it is critical to observe attitudes and ask why they do or don’t enjoy their tasks. You will get more cooperation from them if they know you are interested and willing to adjust the assignment based on their feedback.
Family tasks do more than provide an opportunity to create defining moments; they teach your children valuable skills they will use later in life.
It does take some preplanning on your part, but your efforts will pay off when your children are older. They will not understand all the work you put into creating events or planning family gatherings while they are young but think long-term. So what will they remember about the season of life they are living in right now.
Traditions, rituals, and family tasks can be a catalyst for meaningful and positive memories. You can ensure the memories they access are rich and vivid and frankly easy to think upon and as a mom and a dad. The ability to create those defining moments serves as a transmitter of meaning.
I want to encourage you to start today, whatever your children’s ages, to be intentional about creating defining moments they will, one day, share and reflect on. So that instead of thinking about all the difficult situations they had to overcome, they’ll think about the family activities that added joy to their childhood.
You can learn so much about your children from playtime. Playtime for children can be more revealing about who they are than talking or even watching them in a vocation as they get older.
The Need for Playtime for Children and Adults
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.
When there is no test to pass, no educator to please, God-given strengths can flourish through playtime. So as parents, it’s important to remember not to confuse an interest that your child has in something with a strength that remains through life.
Helping children pursue interests is not about pushing them to be their best at something or jumping into something you think is a natural fit for them.
The best way to lead your children in the process of discovery is through observation.
When you pay attention to the interest of your child, their strengths start to emerge. So ask questions, listen, and watch what they wonder about. Children are full of surprises.
Play Can Lead to Interests
Play is a very positive thing. It opens the mind up to a world of possibilities. New thoughts are considered, and new behaviors are formed.
Encourage your children to try new experiences. For example, playing a new game or sport or meeting new friends can lead to discovering interests they didn’t know existed.
5 Ways You Can Help Your Child:
Help them step out of their comfort zone
Encourage without pushing
Plant seeds of possibilities
Tell them about ‘what if’ outcomes
Give them a reason or benefit for trying something new.
Watch, Don’t Control
Try not to spend your child’s playtime controlling everything they do. Instead, allow this time to be spent observing their behavior and actions. You can learn a lot through watching them.
Create Time for Exploration, Experimentation, Innovation, and Creativity
As parents, there is a balance between allowing children to discover interests and restricting choices. In addition, of course, children need to learn social norms and how to obey the rules, but, sadly there’s a great deal of pressure put on children to compete and conform, and little time is spent encouraging the joys of exploration, innovation, and discovery as it pertains to cultivating your child strengths.
Help Them Learn from Failed Attempts
Some children are risk-takers, and some children are afraid to take risks. I know some kids who naturally view failure as part of trying; therefore, they don’t get discouraged when one of their great ideas doesn’t pan out. Instead, that optimistic child sees life as a great adventure with a few pitfalls along the way. While other more competitive children don’t want to do anything unless they are reasonably confident will bring success.
Knowing how your children think about stepping into uncharted territory will help you construct the proper scenario to help them learn how to work through not winning, being successful, or failing.
You know that your kids are watching you, right? They are watching and learning from you how to communicate from the time they are little and well past the teen years into young adulthood.
Last week we finished up the series Knowing Your Strengths. We spent four episodes talking about what strengths are, how to discover your strengths, understanding your strengths, and how to use your strengths. You can listen to that conversation in episodes 71, 73, 73, and 74. That series then made me think a little more about how strengths tie into my life now and a recent situation. I needed to talk with one of my daughters and we needed to be able to speak face to face, eye to eye. So I sent a text to set up the meeting.
Your Kids Are Watching You
Before I tell you the whole story, you need to know that your kids are watching you. Maybe your child is two years old and pointing at everything while listening to you play the label game. As they get older they are watching how you handle the difficult situations and how you treat people. They pick up on even the little inconsistencies in your life. Your teens then think that what you allow for yourself is also ok for them.
The key observation here is that the words you choose are critical. How are your words going into the ears of the listener? Knowing your strengths helps you figure out how to navigate these circumstances. They are tools that give you the ability to communicate better.
See, I know my daughter and how she is best communicated with. I sent a text asking to get together to do something active and have a talk. I needed to have this conversation with my daughter. It was a hard conversation about heart issues. My heart issues!
Say It Like It Is… Or Not?
Maybe you think: I just say it like it is. In the mind, out the mouth. Well, that’s not always wise. We need to have some filters on our mouths. Some people need to warm up to what we have to say. Some people like to get right to the heart of the matter without all the chit chat. You need to know which kind of person you’re talking to.
Would my words draw conversation out of her or put up a wall? Inflection, tone, and directness all play into how the conversation could go. In the end, the conversation with my daughter was great, but that was because I was aware of the words I was using.
Shore Up the Relationship with Your Teen
If you have a teen, now is the perfect time to shore up your relationship with them. The dynamics and influence you have will change as they grow up and move out into the world. Set the foundation now! Your kids are watching how you respond to the daily challenges of your life. How do you handle conflict? How do you handle disruptions? Will your teen choose to model what they see in you? Will they invite you into their lives as young adults?
In our conversation, my daughter made the observation that I always need to be productive. That’s one of the strengths that I have in the striving domain. I am very productive. I don’t sit well and do nothing. She said to me that sometimes she just needed me to sit and be present with her. That hit me hard. She was watching. She picked up on a place in my life that I still wrestle with.
Productive But Present
A few things to ponder:
It’s ok to be productive, but you have to be present.
It’s ok to be out leading a group or a business, but you have to make sure you’re present for your kids.
Make sure that you’re spending time in your purpose. Is this thing you’re doing the purpose to which God has called you?
Watch your body language.
Are you responding with kindness, love, and unconditionality?
Are you encouraging others?
Every day brings new challenges and opportunities. As your children grow, so do you. Things are always changing and you may feel like you’re running out of time. My conversation with my daughter showed me the fruit of all of the all work and prayers I put in over the years.
In your productivity, stay present and actively engaged. Take time to speak in a way that your spouse, your kids, your coworkers, and others can hear.