“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honor thy father and mother
(which is the first commandment with promise), 3 that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest
live long on the earth,” (Eph. 6:1-3). When children become convinced that they need not obey
and honor their parents, the hope and joy of our future is destroyed. Not only does such a
condition rob families of the happiness and excitement which should fill our homes each day, it
eliminates any chance for obtaining such blessings in the future. It reduces our dreams and
expectations to a grim, day-to-day existence, focused entirely on the physical, temporal
necessities of this cruel world.
Children who do not learn to honor and obey their parents never learn to honor and obey
God—and that is essential for successful living. They never learn to respect themselves or
others—the essential ingredients to a peaceful and fulfilled life. Children who cannot come to
honor their parents cannot appreciate their past, or develop a healthy sense of identity and purpose
in life. They are handicapped from developing beneficial relationships, especially with those
older than themselves. In a word, they are lost.
How can parents ensure that their children obey and respect them? Several Biblical principles
immediately come to mind:
Parents should expect obedience by their children. When we impose unrealistic or silly
demands, or when we maintain unachievable expectations for our children to the point where
they become exasperated, we are teaching them not to take us seriously. They soon learn that
obedience is not really expected. Parents must try to understand their children, and put themselves
in their place. We must make the rules definite, and possible to follow. Household guidelines
should be clearly established, so they can be followed naturally, and without undue effort.
Parents should discipline themselves. It is difficult to take seriously an authority figure who
disobeys the rules he or she is imposing on others. At remarkably young ages, children learn how
to recognize hypocrisy when they see it. Parents who want their children to dress appropriately
must do so themselves. If we want our children to eat responsibly, we must do so ourselves. And
if we want our children to show honor and respect to others, we must demonstrate such respect
in our own words and actions. Parents who speak disrespectfully about other members of the
church, the elders, or the preacher, or about the church itself, should not be surprised when their
children do not obey their commands to honor the church.
Parents should consistently obey God. God is the inventor and designer of the home. He is the
ultimate authority figure in marriage and the family. He is the crucial component to every family
decision, and he is the invisible guest at every family meeting. Parents should emphasize this
reality to their children, and find ways to make it real to them. Children should easily see that
their parents are disciples of Jesus Christ, and that such an arrangement makes good sense. If
parents waiver in their commitment to Christ, their attendance of the assemblies and Bible
classes, their personal Bible reading and devotional study, children will immediately pick up on
their inconsistency and minimize the need to obey them.
Parents should love the Lord. The love for Christ in the hearts of their parents will carry
children through dark and uncertain times. As they grow, they will remember what truly matters
in life, because they saw it in the loving lives of their parents. Intangible qualities like
compassion, mercy and patience are not learned from textbooks. They are learned by observing
our parents—how they react to others, how they treat the helpless or unfortunate, and how they
instinctively do the right thing. Love and obedience are taught by demonstration, not by lectures.
Obedience is not something our current culture likes to consider and practice. The current
preference is to do as we please. But if parents want to really help their children through life, and
into eternity, they must teach them obedience. They must teach them to honor their mother and
father, “for this is right.”
– by Robert C. Veil, Jr.