This past summer in Chicago I worked at memorizing our mission team’s theme verses from Romans 12. Verse ten reads like this:
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.”
Recently, I have been reminded of the word honour. It means to attach a high value to a person and relate to them based on this high value. This is the right mindset for everyone we encounter, but especially within our family relationships. Choosing to attach a high value to our family members and acting accordingly is sometimes challenging.
Specifically, in parenting, communicating that you value your child can be lost in the swirl of busy schedules, rushed conversations and barked orders. I always intended to honour my kids but I know I didn’t do it right all the time. Maybe you are like me and would like to grow in your parenting. You can live out this principle of honour with your own family!
To get us started, here are the three things I don’t regret about parenting. I’m not an expert, but I am experienced!
1. Getting on the Floor
There is a certain undignified moment for a fully-grown parent to collapse – aching joints, sore muscles, and all – in an effort to get down to their child’s level. I remember my knees popping as I got down to fix a toy, read a book, or play lego. I loved wrestling with my kids on the carpet, the couch, my bed – actually we must have wrestled quite a bit. You don’t have to wrestle and you don’t even need to literally “get on the floor” to show your kids they have a high value.
There were many times I said I was too tired or busy. I sometimes skipped pages reading a book so bedtime could come faster. [gasp!] However, looking back, I don’t regret the times I got on the floor with my kids. You can play a game your kids like, kneel beside their bed at night to talk and pray, or try wrestling! It’s one way to show honour.
2. Saying Sorry
Maybe you are that mom or dad who does everything right: Organic soy smoothies for the kids’ breakfast, you do your six-mile run with the three kids in the jogging stroller, you teach them to do their own investment portfolio by age three. You’re disciplined, wise, consistent and always unselfish. Congratulations on being perfect.
But for the rest of us, another way to show our kids honour is to say sorry when we blow it.
I wish I would have done this more often. I remember apologizing for various things over the years. Humbling? Yes. Do I wish I would have done it more? Yes.
Saying sorry and meaning it allows you to realign yourself as a parent to where you want to be. It tells your kid that you acknowledge you aren’t perfect and that you want to get the relationship right.
3. Celebrating 13
One last thing I don’t regret is celebrating an important milestone. My wife Pam and I gave some thought to celebrating our kids as they turned 13. In addition to having a party with their friends, we had another party where we invited some adults who had invested in the child in some way. This gathering was focused on encouragement. Our kids heard a lot of counsel and blessing even though they wouldn’t have requested this type of birthday party! Hearing family members, friends, coaches, teachers and youth leaders say things they noticed about our kids’ character was very moving for me and I think our kids benefited from it.
We also chose this birthday to purchase our kids a good study bible. We looked for one with good study helps in a version they could understand. We took time to write our challenge and encouragement to them in the bible.
Getting on the floor, saying sorry, and celebrating 13. I do not regret these three things, and I know I still have much to learn about showing honour to my family. If you are a parent or grandparent, I’d love to hear how you showed honour to your kids. If you are a kid, let me know what your parents do that make you feel highly valued! There are lots of other ways a family can grow in demonstrating honour to one another. What will you try?
Want to keep growing as a parent? Watch for upcoming announcements about AIM ’18, Emmanuel’s Parenting Seminar.