By Samantha McKenzie
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12, King James Bible
The call to honor your father and mother is an old tradition that predates the writing of scripture. In cultures in which honor was practiced, parents were seen as the central figures within the family and helped define the meaning of community. They were both revered and respected. This concept of honor then transferred into other arenas of life, such as business and politics.
In those days, the more respect you had towards your parents, the more respect you were given. It was a sign of your integrity and character and it played a pivotal part in how far you would succeed in life. We consulted our parents for advice before we made any major decisions, because we knew those decisions could affect them personally and damage our family name. It was the credit score of its time.
But in today’s highly individualistic society, the art of honoring our parents has slipped away. The love and respect we used to show towards our moms and dads are hardly visible. We may practice outward expressions of love, but honor is a forgotten gesture. Nowadays, you hear us laughing among ourselves about how our parents “get on our nerves.” Whenever we don’t want to listen to their advice, good or bad, we are quick to remind them that we are “grown” (as if our adulthood alone makes us adverse to pitfalls). We’re so quick to judge them, to disregard their warnings, to cast them aside. The only time we think to honor them is at award banquets or milestone birthdays.
Honoring your parents is a gift to you. It helps you stay humble. It reminds you to be thankful for your existence. It teaches you skills such as listening, patience and respect for others.
Bestowing this honor in no way means that our parents have been perfect. Some of us came into this world under extraordinary circumstances, but we should still honor our parents. Many of us have endured unpleasant situations or grew up without our birth parents, yet we honor them anyway. This form of respect is our way of thanking them for the privilege to be alive. Honor them regardless.
No matter how busy we get, we should keep this tradition alive. Start at home. Practice it with your family members. Teach it to your children. Find ways to honor your parents on a daily basis and don’t make Mother’s Day and Father’s Day the only time you express gratitude. Honor your stepparents and adopted parents in the same manner. Honor your grandparents and the many aunts and uncles who have contributed to your life. Honor your neighbor who kept an eye on you when your parents weren’t around. Honor your elders and all of those who came before you.
I am the daughter of Rudolph and Angela McKenzie. I honor them for bringing me into this world and for everything they did to provide for me. I am grateful for their patience, love and kindness. I forgive them for their shortcomings. I realize that because of their ultimate sacrifice, I am able to fulfill my heavenly purpose. I look to them for guidance and respect their advice. I am grateful that they are my parents. I am grateful that I am their child.
Honor your mother and father so that your days will be longer.