“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” vs. 12
Typically this commandment is referenced most often by parents who are having a tough time getting the respect and obedience they desire from their children. Out of control kids are forcefully reminded that God wants them to behave–they are to honor their fathers and their mothers or face divine anger! That might be a good thought but it has little to do with the intent of this commandment. Kids do disobey and discipline is important, but this word from God was intended as a safety net for the elderly. There wasn’t a network of nursing homes available for aged parents, instead it was expected that they would live with their children, and be well taken care of. As a result, grandparents were an integral part of a family’s daily life, and the system worked pretty well. Of course we live in different times and customs have changed but we’re still called to honor our parents–and sometimes, with our splintered families, that can become a major issue for us. We spend long hours wondering how it will go when mom and dad can no longer care for themselves. Will there be a place for them in our homes, or is it better to find a care center for them? Where do they want to be? Those are tough questions–and we struggle to find loving answers–but we do know that elderly parents deserve to be honored!
Thought for the Day: How have the elderly been honored in my family?