Honor your father and mother has been a commandment that has been around with us for a long, long time. But do we continue to do that even though we are an adult? And can you set an example for your children now about how you would like to be treated when you and they are older? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” to both questions. Here are 10 ways to honor mom and dad:
1. Make your mom and dad look good.
Simply be a good man. People will make the connection. What more could parents ask for?
2. Let them know you understand what they have done for you.
Play this one by ear, because some parents have a hard time with sentimentality. But a note here, a word of thanks dropped carefully there, a card, a phone call, a hug. Just make sure they get the information. “Dad… hey… I’m not sure I ever told you how much I appreciated your encouragement when I was struggling in middle school.” “Mom… listen… You may not realize it, but I know that you pray for me every day. I wanted to say thanks…”
3. Listen to their stories.
A) You might learn something B) The act of listening is going to affirm and encourage your parents C) You have provided the gift of presence.
4. Tell them your stories.
A surprising number of people with adult children don’t know much about what’s going on in their children’s lives. Get on the phone, take them out to dinner, visit for morning coffee on the way to work. Whatever it takes, stay connected.
5. Be excited about their lives.
Who cares if you don’t get the finer nuances of shuffleboard. So what if your dad’s work as an elementary school tutor fails to excite you. Do you really think they always looked forward to listening to you back in middle school band? Get on board and show some enthusiasm – about whatever it is they’re up to.
6. Strengthen your marriage.
No matter how things worked out for your parents, their hopes and dreams for you still boil down pretty much to one thing – they want to see you happy in a marriage that works. We’ve all heard the one about “Stay together for the kids…” but how about “Make this marriage strong because it will honor our parents”?
7. Love their grandchildren.
Okay, so maybe mom and dad’s real #1 desire is to see their grandkids happy! So honor your parents by loving your kids with the kind of love that doesn’t let go, never gives up, always teaches and directs and – makes their grandparents’ hearts sing.
8. Don’t expect them to bail you out.
If your parents are at all careful about money, then you already know it bothers them to no end to see unrestrained spending and mounting debt. So handle it already. And work hard to avoid dishonoring them by looking for a bailout. Like it or not, your debt reflects negatively on them.
9. Pick up the tab once in a while.
You may not get to keep it. But, believe us when we say this, it means the world to mom and dad when you at least try.
10. Try not to run roughshod over their values.
This is a work in progress – as are we all. Kids grow up to know their own minds about politics, acceptable language, where they stand on drinking, smoking, movie ratings standards, personal choices – all sorts of things that may have shifted since they left home. It’s Okay to disagree with Mom and Dad on a variety of issues – that’s not the point. The point is to honor our parents along the way. And that can mean (sometimes) leaving your cigarettes in the drawer, serving soft drinks when they come to visit, and simply backing out the fight you know you’re going to get into over health care reform – because you never will see eye to eye on that one.