“The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children.” (Edward, Duke of Windsor, Look, 5 March 1957). If Edward thought that in 1957, I wonder what he would think if he visited America today. Children rule; adults obey. It is a world upside down. Isaiah (3:4) announces a coming curse upon Judah by saying, “mere children will govern them.”
God’s ancient wisdom is completely different.
Here are three samples: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.” Lev. 19:32 "Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.” “Honor your father and your mother.”
Obedience is hearing authority and responding as told.
Respect is recognizing authority and responding appropriately.
Honor is loving authority and responding above and beyond what is expected.
Obedience and respect can be demanded, and it is our task as parents to see that it is carried out. Honor, on the other hand, must come from the heart. It cannot be forced.
Parents must teach obedience and respect. It does not come automatically. As parents, we instruct and correct, we demonstrate and train. We lead and insist that our children follow. Now get this: RESPECT IS AN ACTION WORD! It is not an inner attitude but an outward demonstration. Respect is not how they feel; RESPECT IS WHAT THEY DO.
Here is how respect looks: you call her name and she stops to look at you.
Here is how it sounds: he answers you immediately and addresses you as an adult, not as a friend. He says, “Yes ma’am” or “Yes, mom”, but not “Yeah” or “Nope.”
She looks at you.
She listens and responds to you as an adult, not as a friend.
He obeys your commands; he doesn’t give the commands.
Tips we’ve netted: Regina Britt, from Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, says, “Live each day as if it were your last day together. Have no arguments unattended before going to bed.” Cindy Roberts of Mt. Juliet, TN, reminds us to speak to our children the way we want them to speak to us. Respect is a two-way street. Kristel Bergman of Mobile, AL, simply says, “Be consistent.” One more tip from Cynthia Szumlanski of Boaz, AL: Do what you say you are going to do.
Quote: It behooves a father to be blameless if he expects his child to be. ~Homer