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Honour Your Father and Mother - Why the Fifth Commandment Is Important

Updated on June 6, 2020

Exodus 20:12

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Parent- child relationships

"Things aren't like they used to be in the old days."

Have you ever heard someone say that?

Or what about, "In my house, you could not get away with that sort of behaviour."

I have heard and said things similar to the above statements because in today's western world, and, I believe, creeping into the eastern world as well, there is a different dynamic between parents and their children.

Some parents believe that it is better to be friends with their children and are afraid of their children hating them. They give them access to what they want and trust them to make life decisions whether big or small. They give them every explanation the children ask for and negotiate or bribe. They include them in adult activities believing that it is the forward thing to do.There is a little guidance but generally, the children get the final say.

Other parents think that feeding and clothing the children, as well as providing an education for them is enough and so communication between the parents and children is usually zero. They know very little of their children's lives and how they live and act is only alarming when the lives of the parents are interrupted.

Is this new way of parenting, the right way?

Does it matter if a child respects his parents or doesn't it?

Peasant Family at the Table - Jozef Israels 1882
Peasant Family at the Table - Jozef Israels 1882

Home - A Tiny Society

Whether you come from a big family or a small family, the home is the first type of society to which a child is introduced. In this bubble, children learn how things work around the home, how relationships work, the ins and outs of communication and how to solve disputes. They also learn about feelings - anger, happiness, sadness, hate and love - and based upon how they are exposed to these feelings they can either learn to deal with this feelings in an edifying manner or a destructive manner.

This first exposure is the foundation for the child's future behaviour both in and out of the home. As the child grows, there will be outside influences, but if the foundation is strong, the character of the child will remain strong.

There are those who say that raising a child in the fear of the Lord indoctrinates them and is a form of brainwashing. There are those who say that expecting a child to follow rules and have discipline stifles his or her creativity. There are even those who say that even deciding the gender of the child is making that child an oppressed individual. What is interesting to note is that it is not often said that whatever the decision of the parent, is a form of indoctrination because it is a form of training.

Just as a gardener can make a tree grow straight and tall or curve, just as he can prune it to make it look like a ball or shape it into a figure, so too can the parent with the child.

One might say, yes, the gardener can also leave the tree to grow wild and free. He can 'Let the tree be a tree'. If he does this, then the gardener fully knows the consequences that could arise. The tree could choke the other trees in the garden because of its never-pruned branches. Its roots can destroy the foundations of the house nearby. It can also become infested because of neglect and make other trees around it infested as well.

The tree that is well taken care of in a garden will not cause distress and destruction to that which is around it just as the child that is well taken care of will not cause distress and destruction in the home.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Respect today

The business of respect today seems to be twisted like every other ideal in this world. The elderly, the teachers, the parents, all fall by the way side and respect for these are at the barest minimum while it runs deeply for the latest influencer, tik-tocker, entertainer or athlete.

Whose fault is this?

Could it all begin with the parents who were afraid that their children would hate them and so became their friends?

Could it be the ones who searched for their own glory and left them for their grandparents to mind?

What about those who gave them everything they asked for and taught them that work is a chore and if there isn't a reward at intervals it wasn't worth it?

The ones who asked the remote control to baby-sit or the i-pad?

These neglectful parents have raised children who dishonour them and dishonour others who do not deserve it.

They lack appreciation and are thankless, jealous and full of avarice.

Although these side-effects of a dishonourable child are alarming, there is one side-effect to which most parents who indulge their children are blind.

Actually, I think it's a consequence that many, even those who profess to know God, do not believe.

What is this consequence?

A shortened life.

A Long Life

The fifth commandment is the first commandment that comes with a promise - long life. I often wonder if in the studies on the people who live long lives they ask about their respect for their parents. The ones who get to 110 and say that they lived that long because of a certain routine.

What's strange about these people who live long lives is that there seems to be no common factor. Some eat healthily, some don't. Some smoke and others drink. I have read of one who insisted that having bacon every day was the sure fire formula. Another said that single life was the answer.

What if all these centenarians arrived at their ripe ages because they honoured their parents?

I would think that there is a very strong argument for this being the deciding factor.

There are many who say the Japanese live long because of their healthy diet but what if it is because Japanese society highly honours the older generation? They respect them and take care of them and they are valued for their contributions.

They are not the only people who live long. Centenarians are scattered across the globe and all of them grew up in times where honouring your parents was of utmost importance.

God doesn't lie

Since the Lord said these words, they are true and so it means that whether you are aware of this law of God or not, if you obey it, you will receive the blessing that comes with it.

For those parents who love their children and want them to live long lives, teaching them to respect and honour them is a way to ensure that this will happen. Not only that, but the children who are brought up in this manner will also show respect for others and their property, being valuable members of their community as well as good citizens of their nation.

© 2020 North Wind


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