Sunday, February 9, 2014

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother - Exodus 20:12

I would like to share some thoughts on a topic which I feel is quite often forgotten.  Question: Can you imagine what it would be like in this world if everyone honored their parents?
Now, i'm sure many of you are thinking, 'how can I honor my parents when they have no right to be honored?'  Perhaps you feel they have done nothing to merit even the insinuation of honor.  Unfortunately, the rates of abuse, alcohol use in the home, divorce, and just plain 'being mean', is rather high in homes across America.  I'm sure the rates of some form of abuse, in the home, are despicably high if we looked at the numbers across the globe!
I do not wish to dwell on these sad subjects, I wish only to acknowledge them as I am aware that I am addressing several persons who have been victimized.  In this regard I offer my love and support in your ultimate growth.  I offer my love and support that one day, perhaps, or strewn throughout your life, you can make sense of all those misfortunes that happened.  Whether it be through professional counseling, or friends, or other family members.  Even though I may not know you, I love you and I pray for you.
Again I ask, can you imagine a world where all people honored their parents?  Can you imagine what it would be like?
What does it mean to honor?  Google definition says: noun "high respect, esteem", "A privilege", verb "regard with great respect, 'Fulfill (an obligation) or keep (an agreement).'
So how can we do this in our various forms of being raised?
I propose these 4 ways:
1. You are alive.  You wouldn't even be here if it weren't for your parents!  No matter who they are, where they came from or what they have done in this life, your parents brought you into this world and that is something to honor and have great thanks for.  Your very existence depends greatly on them.  Your breath from day to day, your beating heart, your brain, although created by God, were facilitated by your parents who gave you an opportunity to be alive!  If you cannot muster any other reason than that, let that be your blessed reason.
2. Honor whatever good they have done.  When we focus on what is good, the good expands.  My parents taught me what love is.  They taught me what support is, by their example.  My mother and father have great talents which I look up to and aspire to emulate.  My invitation to you is to focus on the good your parents do and have done.  Notice their smiles.  Notice their concern for you, even if it doesn't come out exactly like you think it should.  Notice their accomplishments, great or small.  By so focusing our energy in this way, we have a greater capacity to let go of those things we may wish were not so.  This focus helps us to move forward, and upward.
3. Honor your parents by improving yourself.  Live up to your potential.  I don't believe anything creates greater joy in the life of a mother or father than to see their child succeed, or accomplish those things which they, for whatever reason, never did.  A latin proverb I have always loved states, "A wise man learns by the mistakes of others, A fool by his own".  I say I love the quote but I would rephrase it just a bit (as I don't feel you are a fool to learn from your mistakes). I would change it to say, "A wise man learns solely from his own mistakes, a wiser man learns by the mistakes of others also." The point I'm making here is .. so your parents messed up bad?  So? Learn from it.  Improve yourself.  You have been given a good example, or a bad example, great!  What a wonderful thing.  What a blessing it is to be given both good and bad examples.  How can we grow from these situations? How can we come out on top? A good friend of mine says as he looks back on 'misfortunate' events in his life, "It happened for me, not to me."  How can we be filled with gratitude?  Which brings me to my next point.
4. Fill yourself with gratitude towards your parents.  This statement is all encompassing of the first 3 I mentioned.  Be grateful you are alive through them, be grateful for the good they have done, the sacrifices they make for you.  Even be grateful for the bad choices they made, to give you an example of something to grow from.  Be grateful you are here on this earth through the means of your parents giving you the very opportunity to learn and to grow!
I just want to say how grateful I am for my parents. They truly have sacrificed so much for me.  They still do, even though I'm 'all grown up' (so to speak, haha)!  They have taught me the important things in life to value.  They have taught me how to live, love and give.  I know they were not perfect (as no parent is) and therefore I seek to learn from the mistakes they have made and improve myself daily, while being grateful that they even made those mistakes for me to learn from.
Thank you mom and dad!
I hope that I can ever improve my ability to honor more greatly my beloved parents.
So, back to my original question.  What would the world be like if we all honored our Fathers and Mothers?  Well, I imagine that there would be much less if even no crime at all.  I envision a much more peaceful place.  A place where generation after generation would actually grow and improve off of it's previous generation.  I imagine that in a short span of time this whole earth would be a more peaceful place.
We cannot change the world alone but we can change our lives, and one life can have a much more powerful, far reaching, effect than you may ever know.  I think Mother Teresa said this best:
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ―Mother Teresa
I'd love to know your thoughts or questions.  If you have any more suggestions of what has helped you to honor your parents more, comment below, or send me an email:
"The love of parents for their children and children for their parents is one of the strongest influences for good in the world"

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