Honor Your Father and Mother


Facing the normal circumstances of parents growing older or becoming those older parents, how are parents honored? What can an adult child do or say that will bestow honor to their parents?

Blake is a new friend. When his mom began to experience dementia and was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, he spent the next 10 years caring for her. His company’s IPO gave him the resources to do it. He became known as the guy who cared for his mom. That’s honoring your mother big time.

But what about the rest of us? Facing the normal circumstances of parents growing older or becoming those older parents, how are parents honored? What can an adult child do or say that will bestow honor to their parents?

Here are six ways to honor your father and mother:

  1. Praise them behind their backs – The highest compliment you’ll ever receive is the one not intended for your ears. Parents love to hear that their kids have said good things about them to others.
  2. Track your parents’ loved ones and express interest and concern – While they might not have been an important part of your life, they’re important to your parents. Since your mom’s siblings and your dad’s brothers matter to your parents and your parents matter to you, make them matter to you . . . at least a little. Just ask about them and show you care.
  3. Always say thank you – Most parents love to give to their adult children and especially to their grandchildren, but they never want to be taken for granted. Remember, unexpressed gratitude feels like ingratitude.
  4. When they’re sick, check on them – Not just once, but consistently till they’re well. Just because they’re “out of danger” or don’t require your help doesn’t mean they don’t need to know you care. They want your concern out of love, not duty.
  5. Offer to pay whenever they take you out – Parents love to buy dinners, groceries, even tanks of gas. But offering to pay is a reminder that it’s an appreciated gift that isn’t taken for granted. Bring it up in advance . . . offer to go dutch, but don’t be silent. Your offer to pay validates the value of what’s being given.
  6. Remember their important dates – Their birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day, wedding anniversaries, their parents’ birthdays, dates when their parents or other important people in their lives passed away . . . all these dates are meaningful to older people because their lives are more behind than ahead. There’s all kinds of free apps (like Birthday Alarm) that’ll send you advance reminders by email. It’ll take you a while to load in the dates, but thereafter, it’ll take you about 30 seconds to send an email or a text just to let them know you’re thinking of them on those meaningful days. Easy.

Note the words of Ephesians 6:2-3 . . .

“Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise) . . .that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”

This may be once when selflessness has a promised reward in this life.


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