By; SAMSON YAKI
The relationship between parents and children is universal in scope and forms the basic foundation for living. It is the first relationship a child encounters and will linger on in the life of the child for the rest of his life. It is a strong foundation for success in school, on the job, and even in marriage.
This commandment tries to help children understand that parents-children relationship is symbiotic in nature as It’s a sure fact that most parents would die for their children, not with doubt or hesitation, but gladly.
Therefore it behoves on children to reciprocate the same with honour. Note that not everyone has the opportunity to marry and many people never become parents, but everyone is a son or a daughter.
Therefore our relationship to our parents, or even the lack of it, affects every one of us for good or for evil to the last day of our lives.
According to Loron Wade, “We cannot change the reality into which we were born. None of us had any voice in choosing our parents, and neither can we make them over according to our ideas of how they should be”. Wade maintained that “They (Parents) may have done their job with consummate skill; they may have done it with many mistakes and blunders; or—like most of us—with some of both. What they did or did not do inevitably had an impact on us; but it can never be said too loudly or repeated too often: we are affected more deeply and permanently by our attitude toward their efforts than by the specific method they used”.
Parental-Children relationship, as put by Wade “influences us in terms of the choices we make and the way we feel about our parents–our attitude toward them, the deep gut-level reaction evoked in us when we think of them–will profoundly shape the way we relate to all authority and, to a lesser degree, to all other human beings, and in all likelihood it will affect our relationship with God as well”.
In fact, the first time the Bible mentions marriage it describes it as a man leaving his father and mother and joining himself to his wife (Genesis 2:24). So the Bible sees even marriage as a transference and, in some sense, a continuation of a relationship that started with our parents. People who have unresolved issues with their parents head into marriage with a serious handicap, and they are at extremely high risk for having problems in other areas of life as well.
That is why the commandment says that if we honor our parents our life will be “prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you”(Exodus 20:12). This means that a healthy relationship with our parents is the basis for good relations, peace of mind, and success throughout our lifespan.
Honour, like worship, Is an Attitude of the Heart. It does not refer to a specific action or behavior toward our parents, but rather to the way we choose to relate to them in obedience. Obedience that springs from an attitude of “honor” which is an intelligent response, an active expression of love and respect, not an automated compliance with authority. Obedience without the attitude of honor is heavy drudgery. In fact, it is slavery. Honoring our parents means we will want to make them look good by being good our-selves, and to make them successful in their efforts to help us be successful.
This means to pull off our boxing gloves and get out of the ring, listen to their counsel, speak well of them, and look for ways to show them our appreciation and respect. If we don’t honour them we have invented a formular for problems. But when the relationship goes well, it is in the sunset of life that we can most fully appreciate the fact that indeed “children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them!”(Psalm 127:3-5).
Of course, even in death the honour of our parents does not come to an end. Our obligation to honor them is ever. What we do and how we live still can make them look good and honor their memory. We can live in a way that expresses gratitude for what they stood for and what we received from them.
The greatest honor we can bring them is not by our words or by heaping flowers on their tombs, but by being the kind of people we ought to be. And the choice to do this rests entirely in our hands.
“My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you” (Proverbs 6:20-22).
“Letyour father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you” (Proverbs 23:25).