12 Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived
upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee.
This is one of my favorite commandments. I think primarily because I was
able to get to know my mother as a person, not just as my mother, and, as I learn more
about my father and some "pressures" he had to deal with in his life, I become
more and more proud of him for the principles he stood for and the work that he did.
So, in one way, Honoring your father and mother is about seeing them for the people they
are, understanding what experiences have caused them to become "who they are",
and admiring the courage and discipline that they, like all parents, have had to apply to
their own lives in order to contribute to their children's lives.
This is very much part of the way tradition and heritage become passed along from
generation to generation, the kinds of things that perpetuate "family values",
national values and loyalty, as well as religious heritage, observances and beliefs.
Certainly, honoring your father and mother is about obedience, especially when you're a
child, but more than that, to learn to understand that their instruction, even their
criticism, is given to you not to diminish you, but to pass along wisdom based on
experience and knowledge you may not otherwise have access to.
In a way, it's no different than taking the advice of a friend when asking what's good to
eat at a certain restaturant you've never been to.
You could say, in a given context, that honoring the wisdom of your mother and father will
give you good advice that will ease the stress of your life, causing less disease and
struggle... interesting to me given that God makes that same promise to the faithful,
particularly in the New World.
My favorite way to view honoring your father and mother is to ask yourself, if my parents
knew everythign I did, the way I conducted myself, the job I had, the way I treat people,
keep my word and stick to my principles, would they be proud of me?
I doubt anyone could say they wouldn't have at least a moment or two when they would have
been embarassed or ashamed if their mothers knew what they were up to.
You have to admit, it's very much the same as with God. What would God think if He knew
what you were up to, the way you treated people, and the Commandments you break just
because you figure He'll forgive you, and it's just what you have to do or just the way
people act these days?
It would be difficult to not realize that if you were not able to honor them for the
wisdom they provide, how would you be able to honor the wisdom and guidance offered by
It's also interesting to consider that honoring your parents is often best done simply by
making sure your parents know you appreciate that whatever they've done and advised you,
as your parents, that you appreciate the effort and love they had and gave you in order
for them to have given so much of their lives to providing you the foundation for your
It may be considered easy to create life and simply normal, expected or a standard of a
culture to do so, but it requires true commitment, sincere and abiding love and a world
worthy of a soul to truly provide what a child needs, and what a parent creates and
provides the best they can.
To understand those things will also provide you with insight that will allow you to
appreciate every person, spirit and being, and all things in His creation, in a whole, new