This weekend, my daughter hosted a surprise birthday party for a friend. As the party wrapped up, one girl remained. She was waiting on her dad who’s GPS wasn’t working. The girl was on the phone with her father trying to talk him to our house.
It wasn’t going well.
As circumstances became more and more frustrating for them, the voice levels rose – her to him and him to her. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was shocking.
When her father finally arrived, my daughter looked at me with wide-eyes and unprompted said,
“I would be dead if I talked to you like that.”
This week, we’re focusing on honor – God, parents, friends, authorities and spiritual leaders. Pastor David shared a great message on this topic Sunday, and we’re continuing the theme through our devotions.
Thinking about that story, and my daughter’s response, I asked myself this question, “How do I receive honor as a parent?”
My instant answer was, “I receive honor by showing my children respect.”
Don’t get me wrong, they should honor me even if I’m a jerk. But it’s not the picture Paul lays out in this scripture. They honor me because I provide an example when I show respect to them.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. -Ephesians 6:1-4
I discipline. I instruct. I do both of these without driving them to hate me.
I’m not crazy. I have teenage daughters. It’s not easy. As a parent it’s my job. My responsibility is to raise them to honor me (and all authorities) because of the respect I show them (and my authorities).
I had a great example growing up. My mom and I went around and around on things. She was wrong some of the time. I was wrong most of the time. She nearly always treated me with respect (minus those few times she chased me through the yard with a wooden spoon, but that’s another story).
Parents, expect honor. Expect it because you are showing respect. It’s not easy, but it’s right.