3, 2, 1…….. Have you ever said these words when your child disobeyed you? Through repetition, you’ve taught them that if you get to the dreaded zero in your countdown, then there will be some type of punishment. This had been my form of control and teaching my children how to be obedient. Because for me, obedience is very important. Who doesn’t want their children to obey their every command? But I really didn’t enjoy those times that I counted down to zero. As I counted, I’d have this internal conversation in my head. All I would be thinking was “come on kid, I don’t want to do this but I will.” Have you ever been there? Maybe you’ve had a similar experience in the disciplining of your child. Let me tell you about something that changed the way I disciplined my children.
It’s one word, HONOR! I know, I know. How can one word be so effective that it would cause me to leave my other discipline strategies? I was also skeptical, when I first heard it. Pastor Andy Stanley brought this idea that he experienced and is currently living out with his family. After teaching and studying the idea, and after practicing it myself, I realized how effective it was. So, let me break it down. In Ephesians 6:2 the bible teaches us that, children should honor their father and mother. Yes, as a parent you have the bible on your side but it goes beyond that. It’s possible that, you simply telling your child, “well the bible says you have to honor me” may not work. It requires more work on our side as parents. Honor in the new testament can mean that something is of value to you or it’s something you deem to have a price; but it also comes about through time. Who wouldn’t want their children to value, respect, and admire them? Before we get there, we have to Honor our children first.
The bible teaches us that, we love because God first loved us. He modeled that to us by revealing himself to us. In the same way how can our kids honor us if we don’t model it to them. Your children imitate you. They speak like you, and even act like you because they are learning from you. If we are constantly lying to our children, then we are not honoring them. If you say yes, I’ll take you to get ice cream tomorrow, and tomorrow comes and you don’t keep your promise, then you’re not honoring them. Instead, you’re teaching them that it’s ok to not follow through on what is said. Then they begin to lie to you, but remember where they learned it from first. As a parent we have the privilege and responsibility to teach, guide, coach, and love our children. Don’t take it lightly. If you do, someone else will teach them, and it may not be what’s best for them. I believe we now understand the importance we play on our children’s life, so let’s begin to teach honor.
We talked about how we must show honor to our children. Fathers, you can achieve this in the way that you interact with your wife. Do you value her in front of your children? Do you lie to her? Do you lift her up? Can your children see a healthy relationship between you and your wife? Fathers if you have boys, the way you treat your wife is the example you set for how they will interact with women when they are older. If you have daughters, the way you treat your wife will set an example of how they should expect to be treated as they are looking for their future husband. Mothers, the same go for you with your children. The way you treat your husband can bring him value, respect, and authority in your home. Our kids study everything, and the relationship between the spouses is a vital one. It’s the one they see throughout their life, and molds most of their future relationships. So, with that being said, parents honor your spouses. Not only does that benefit your children but it greatly benefits your marriage.
So, what do I do if my child dishonors (disrespects, lies, hurts, disobeys) me? Well here is the thing with honor. When you teach your children honor it leads to relationship. So, if you punish your children by taking away their cell phone, video games, YouTube, etc. all you’ve done is take something they like for some time. They might even resent you for it. It doesn’t feed or lead you to a closer relationship, but instead it serves to pull you apart. Now I know some of you are thinking “come on now” but hear me out. I come from a background where whooping is very common, and being familiar with a belt while growing up, but I think I turned out alright. However as a parent, I now know that it isn’t the most effective way. So, you might be asking “well then, what do I do?” Let me give you an example. Not too long ago my eldest dishonored her mom. When she got home, I asked her to go to her room and told her I would be in shortly to talk to her. When I got there, I asked her what happen. She told me a very non-detailed account of what happen. I told her what her mother told me and pointed out how she dishonored her. I reminded her how in our family we honor each other. I reminded her how dishonoring breaks the relationship we are building. Once she acknowledged what she had done, I then asked how she planned to fix it. I asked how can she now show honor after dishonoring. So, she threw out some ideas like making mommy a card, giving her strawberries with whip cream, and apologizing. I agreed and told her “so this is what you are going to do, PERFECT.”
When you lead your children to honor it always leads to building and protecting your relationship. If I take away YouTube, sure its effective for a while. But we never address the offense, the hurt that was done. By having them do something for the person they dishonored it leads to a reconciling and a building of the relationship.
Now teaching your children honor is not a one-night thing or a magical thing that works all the time. It’s something you must dedicate, focus, and prioritize on, if you want it to be a part of your family. Like we said earlier, honor is developed over time, so don’t rush it, just be consistent. When your children are trying to honor after a dishonor you might need to guide them through, on how to mend that relationship. At times, you might even need to strongly guide them in a direction you think is right; and as you do, be creative with it. The more creative, the stronger impact it will make, and they will remember it.
Now, teaching and upholding honor will take some work. It is far easier to take things away as a form of discipline but consider this, let’s stop taking away and start giving our kids practical ways to honor and treat people, and how to mend relationships. The end result should lead you to having children that even when they become adults, they are excited to spend time with you, because they honor you and cherish the relationship, they have with you. That destination sounds like a beautiful place to arrive at, as a parent. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!
Let me encourage you with this prayer. Father God, I thank you for this teaching that has and is impacting my life. I am thankful for the honor and privilege you have given me, to be a parent. I pray for all those who reading this. Lord, may you encourage them and build them up as they are doing their best with what they have. Father strengthen them physically, mentally, and spiritually. Let them love what you have given them, the same way you love us all. Amen!
Written by Pastor Danny
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