A Lesson Learned: Honor?

After reading this article about the scathing book that Martha Stewart’s daughter recently wrote about her childhood as the domestic diva’s daughter, it seems to be a trend (especially among celebrities) to blame your parents for all your problems.

I’m sure my kids wouldn’t have any trouble filling the pages of a book with all my flaws, poor judgements, and mistakes as a parent! But I would hope that once they are grown, they will have some respect towards their sinful and flawed mother who loved them more than life itself.

Martha Stewart’s daughter must have felt justified in writing the book because her mom obviously wasn’t perfect. She spent time in jail, for crying out loud. I get it. Everyone is imperfect. Everyone has flaws. Everyone makes mistakes (sometimes huge mistakes). Sometimes people can hurt us beyond repair.

However, despite all the ways our parents might have messed up, they are still our parents. God gave them to us for a reason in the same way that we are the parents of our children for a reason.

“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” -Ephesians 6: 2-3

Our children won’t learn how to respect and honor others unless we are their example. Our society certainly won’t teach them…you can’t even turn on the TV without hearing horrible attacks about one politician or another. If we want to ensure that our children grow up to be respectful of us as well as others, we have to start showing respect. Talking negatively about others (even those who are public figures) is simply not setting a good example.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” -Ephesians 4:29

I am so very blessed to have been raised by two amazing individuals who loved God, each other, and all five of us kids. I truly admire and respect both of my parents. They are imperfect and have made mistakes, but they taught us what it means to be in a relationship with God…the best gift they could have ever given me.

I understand that not everyone had such a Christ-centered upbringing. Some people had just plain crummy parents, but even so…we need to be careful how we talk about them, especially when our children are listening. If we need to problem solve or even just vent to someone, we just need to remember to do it out of the earshot of our children…or else they might be saying those same things about us someday!


  1. Having come from bad parents, it has been a long and difficult road to healing. My parents and I no longer have a relationship; we haven’t even told them we have a son. It has taken years of anger and counseling, but in the past couple years, I have finally come to that place where I just erase them from my vocabulary. It’s the best thing I can do for them, and is the only way I can find to honor them. I have found peace in knowing the Lord put me with these people for some reason. Maybe it’s so I learn from them and do the complete opposite.

  2. My husband is a high school math teacher and he can’t stand it that his students fail to take accountability for themselves. It’s never their fault. They can’t own up. I think the same can be said of lots of adults who continue to think their life being screwed up is someone else’s fault, more often than not that someone being a parent.

    BUT, despite the things we hate about our parents (and there are things that made me cry myself to sleep at night because of my parents) and their parenting skills or lack their of, we have to just remember that that’s just how some people are. My mother did what she knew to do, but it wasn’t enough for me, but that’s just how she is. And many of her quirks will never change. But, I have prayed hard and long to forgive her and not harbor the hard feelings of the past. I try very hard not to speak (too) ill of her or my father when talking to any one, not just in front of my parents. Bringing up the hard past only keeps it in the front of our minds. Let it be. Leave it alone. Forgive and forget. Love.

    Thanks for the post. :)

  3. I definitely don’t blame any of my problems on my parents, and I actually feel i’m a stronger person because of the mistakes that they have made. However, as my parents are going through a divorce now because of my father’s MAJOR, MAJOR shortcomings, I am struggling with respecting my father at all. I have zero respect for him at this point in my life. The only influence he has had over my life is a tiny “what if” in the back of my mind about my own marriage (i’m a newlywed :) ).

    On the other hand, as a proud “bonus” mommy to my husband’s 2 year old (we have full custody). I struggle with the way his mother acts and how she parents. I have no respect for her or the way she lives her life. I try my hardest not to talk negatively about her (especially around my son) even though it’s difficult because I have such a strong desire to protect my baby.

    I think this subject it a lot more complicated for everyone, but I do appreciate this post as it has reminded me to be more gracious and forgiving :)

    1. It has taken me my entire adult life to realize respect is not the same as honor. I do not respect my parents, but at this point in my life, I do not dishonor them by talking ill of them. That’s the most I can give them at this point in my life.

  4. I suppose there was a time when I wanted to blame a lot of things on my parents, but I really can’t. I know they did what they knew at the time and they did their absolute best. Things get crazy with four kids. :) And seeing how much they’ve been there for me as an adult definitely puts a new spin on things, because I know whatever I’m going through they’ve most likely been there done that.

  5. I so agree. We teach our kids so many things. I firmly believe the way we treat our parents (and in-law’s) teaches our children how to treat us in the future!!!

  6. The next verse down is also extremely important.
    Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

    If a child has been exasperated by their father or mother and there is no forgiveness towards them (with the Gods help of course) there will be no foundation for honor and even respect.
    Honor is not just taught but also earned.
    Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do, and yet it is the one thing that is essential for healing an growing beyond our injustices.

    One thing I tell my son is that I honor him. I want him to know that his life is going to honored by me and his dad. I can’t just comand it or teach it, I have to show it and give it.

    Food for thought, sorry that my response is long. Thanks.

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