This of course, comes from the Bible, one of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on the mountain. Growing up, I resented every time my father quoted this. It usually meant that I wouldn’t get something I wanted or would be doing something that wasn’t on my personal agenda!
The dictionary describes honor as to regard or treat with honor or respect; to confer honor on. How difficult it was to honor the Enforcer, who demanded that I clean my room, do the dishes, and finish my homework. I wanted to play, to enjoy my life, and had little respect for my parents who were trying their best to mold me into an upstanding adult.
With maturity, I began to view my folks in a different light, especially my mother, whom I could turn to when I needed to just talk. Dad was often not available, working to support six children and requiring quiet time in the evenings after his trying day. When he retired and was presented with grandchildren, my father mellowed and became approachable, creating time to play with these babies where he didn’t have that with his own children.
Fast forward to the present – my parents are now 89 years old, and have become more dependent on my five siblings and me. Dad is facing angioplasty next week for three blocked arteries. Mom has dementia. I have flown to Pennsylvania to help while some of the local kids are still working as teachers. I am grateful to have the time to help. How do I honor my parents today?
I try to do what I can quietly as to respect their dignity. How disheartening it must be to need help from your children for the most basic things – laundry, dishes, cooking. Mother repeats herself often, forgetting what she said a minute ago. I listen intently. There will soon come a day when I long to hear her offer me a pretzel five times in ten minutes.
How can you honor your parents today? Perhaps it is to honor their memory in some way, if they’re gone. If you aren’t nearby, I bet they’d appreciate a phone call. If you live nearby, visit!