It’s ironic that the honor due our parents has been the Digging Deep theme during this month of national transition; a month that has seen much disrespect of civil authority as well as the establishment of several key policies that fly in the face of Biblical authority. Rebellion in society grows from the failure of parents to instill within children the respect for primary parental authority. It may seem an oversimplification, but when kids who have never had to submit to authority in the home grow into adults, they emerge as people who are unwilling to honor any authority—organizational or civil. When there are entire communities of adults who have grown up having their own way (without parental nurture and discipline), chaos and disrespect is the result. We’ve witnessed this phenomenon this month and in the past several months on a wide scale in the United States.
Throughout the month, we’ve been thinking about practical ways we can put respect for authority in the hearts of our children. Melissa Davidson suggested that one very powerful way is to let our children see, firsthand, their parents caring for their grandparents during the years of physical decline. When children see us making sacrifices; yes, even when children give up activities themselves to give honor by caring for their grandparents, the fifth command becomes very personal. Caring for those who once changed our diapers and provided our sustenance in all ways, is a great way to engrave some principles of respect for parents on the tender hearts of our kids. They won’t forget that Mom and Dad dropped everything, spent long hours and lots of money to provide comfort and support and supply physical needs in situations that were not always pretty. They will remember the tough days when the needs were overwhelming and the nights when sleep was interrupted multiple times. They will remember emergency room runs and waiting room vigils. They will not forget the daily regimen of therapies, the many doctor visits and perhaps dementia or incontinence. They will know you stopped thinking about what was convenient and, at times, just tried to figure out how to survive. They will remember that you missed some activities that you loved and went to great lengths to try to keep old minds thinking and old hands nimble. They will come to understand that this care was a matter of integrity. They will know that these precious years during which you said goodbye, at least for a time, to those to whom you owed so much, were the honor years.
In this context, it’s been requested that the following two lessons from Polishing the Pulpit 2018 be shared once more. PTP was kind enough to allow us to do this. These lessons are given by myself and my sisters, Celine Sparks and Sami Nicholas and they are lessons we learned about THE Father while caring for our father as he prepared to go home. Maybe you could be blessed in some way by listening.