Finding Where Honor Fits Into Parenting

Honor: to be regarded with great respect; high respect; esteem

Honor, respect, dignity . . . . these are words that appear to have lost meaning. It’s becoming easier to recognize someone who has served in the military because they look different from the rest. In many cases, these are people for whom honor and respect are more than words – they have great meaning and often steer decisions.

Not everyone in the military lives by these ethics – and not everyone who holds these concepts dear has served in a branch of the military.

Honor is one word my children learned early in life. I had five rules, and honoring me and their father was one of them. In the beginning it was a practical means of controlling behavior, and as they grew older it became part of the fabric in our lives. Today, if I’m contemplating breaking one of those rules I can count on one of the children to speak up and remind me that those rules exist for a reason, and thus far that reason has kept our family strong.

We don’t always do it right – and I don’t do it right more often than I’d like  – but we’ve built a solid foundation.

This the first commandment found in the Bible that comes with a promise. In Ephesians 6:2-3 the Bible says: “Honor thy father and mother that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Have you thought how your behavior reflects honor, or whether you are taking time to teach your children about honor? This takes intention, or thinking about how you will teach them what it is and how to live it. For instance, we may believe we want our children to “follow the rules,” but unless we talk about those rules and how they should be followed, it’s a conversation you hold in your head and your children are not privy to the information.

Honor is just such a concept. You might WANT your children to live with honor, but unless you are intentional about telling them, it’s likely they won’t get the idea.

Once you’ve decided to be intentional about honor, you have two ways of passing your knowledge along to your children. By talking about it and by modeling the behavior you want them to follow.

Have you ever seen ads on television where the parents are asking their children where they learned to drink, while they were holding a drink in their hand? Or complaining about their children taking drugs, while their medicine cabinet is chock full of pain medications.

Functionally, to treat others with honor means to treat them with respect, to do more than what is expected, and having a good attitude while doing it.

Practicing honor changes your life, the life of your children and the lives of those around you. Your children stand out from the rest – which is what is needed to find a partner with character, the best job they can find and to stand before God.

Honor is also like oil that lubricates a functioning and hard-working machine. Your works gets done with less friction and anger.

You can find time to talk about working honorably when you talk with your children about money, jobs, relationships, volunteering and school work.

It is not honorable to cheat, but it is to ask your teacher’s forgiveness when you didn’t get your homework done.

If you watch sitcoms on television you see the actors making a play on honor. One wants to cheat or cut corners, while another may want the character to make the “right” decision. Unfortunately, overtime, these television shows are leaning more toward the characters making the wrong decision because the outcome may “feel good,” or get the character “ahead.”

But ultimately, making a decision for the wrong reasons, the dishonorable reasons, results in achieving less than you could have and enjoying much less success than you could have.

Being a single mom is hard work. Remembering to teach the children all you want them to learn is difficult. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to live your life the way you want them to live theirs.

You don’t have to make compromises to give them more than you had because they don’t want more, they want you. Your children inherently know what’s right and wrong and they are watching you to see the path you want them to take.

I was reading an article a week ago about making goals in the New Year. Seems like there are thousands of articles this time of year about how to write goals, how to make a plan, how to follow the plan and measure the results. But this young woman had a different take on her goals for the New Year.

Instead of making a list of what she wanted to achieve, she began to concentrate on who she wanted to become. By becoming a person she could be proud of, she would then be capable of overcoming obstacles and conquering challenges that came her way in the coming year. By becoming a better person, she would be able to set bigger and better goals.

You don’t have to write a list of what you want your children to learn and know. Instead, concentrate on becoming the person you want them to become. Most children are wise beyond their years. They learn by watching your actions – what you say and do – and not necessarily what you say.

Sometimes, when I’m using a new piece of software and trying to get it to do something, I’ll start yelling at the computer – “Do what I WANT you to do! NOT what I’m telling you to do!”

Your children are the same. You can tell them not to lie to you until you’re blue in the face, but if they watch you lie to your friends or their siblings, they learn to lie too.

Remember, it is never too late to learn something new. Until someone is within minutes of death, it is just not too late. Consider taking the time this year to resolve to BECOME so you can watch your children grow into people you are proud of.




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