Why does the Bible say, 'Honor your father and mother?'

BY CAREY KINSOLVING Published: June 18, 2012
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"Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your kids," read a sign in Brussels, Belgium.

Or as author Jean Kerr wrote, "The real menace in dealing with a 5-year-old is that in no time at all you begin to sound like one."

The fifth commandment is designed to keep parents sane by giving children a principle to guide their behavior and attitudes toward their parents. I asked my friends to tell me how they honor their parents. If their behavior matches their answers, their parents are not only sane but very happy.

"I honor my parents by giving them hugs and kisses. I also honor them by buying them TCBY treats," says Angela, age 10.

Frozen yogurt with hugs and kisses! If TCBY could package this combination, its stock would soar.

"I obey my mother and father by getting up in the mornings as sweet as pie," says Kaitlin, 7.

I'm still working on this one. When I wake up, I'm grateful if I don't hurt myself by tripping over the furniture.

Kaitlin also said, "When the Bible says your days will be longer (if you honor your father and mother), it means you will live longer."

In a society obsessed with living longer, how many doctors recommend honoring parents? God promises a long life to those who honor their parents.

"I honor my parents by obeying," says Christine, 10. "Like when they say to get them some water, I do it. I treat them like a king and queen."

I'll bet Christine's parents treat her like a princess. It's so easy to take parents for granted. Can you imagine a society where the Bart Simpson attitude wasn't glorified? Why imagine when it's within your power to be gracious to your parents instead of disrespectful? They're not perfect, but neither are you.

"I love my mother and father," says Gardner, 11. "They are the best. I try to obey them. I know they love me, and I love them."

Something tells me that Gardner will never visit a psychiatrist's office to find himself. Because he knows his parents love him unconditionally, he's secure and able to love them in return. Love fosters love.