God expects us to honor age: “Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.” – Job 32:7
And He specifically instructs us to honor our parents:
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. – Deuteronomy 5:16
So what are some practical ways that you can show honor to the adult figures in your life?
- Write a letter. Tell your mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, or another elderly person in your life how they have blessed and impacted you. A letter is sometimes better than a call as the person can look back on your words and be honored again and again.
- Make a list. One family made a list for their father and mother’s 60th birthdays, including 60 reasons why they loved and appreciated them. Mom’s list included gratitude for making their lunches, taking care of them when they were sick, and for her amazing multitasking qualities. Dad’s list includes thankfulness for his service in the war, for passing on a love for music, and for his financial faithfulness. This is a great project to include kids and grandkids. (Sometimes the grandkids have some of the best ideas.)
- Teach your kids about the importance of age. Who gets served first for dinner in your house? In Asian cultures, the elderly are served first. Find little ways to teach your kids about the importance of respecting age.
- Visit a nursing home with your kids. Far too often, elderly people are considered a burden. Ask the staff at a nearby nursing home if there is anyone in particular who could use some love and encouragement. ‘Adopt‘ this person by bringing them cards, treats, by singing for them, or by simply listening to him or her.
- Address disrespect in your home. A disrespectful tone or disrespectful actions should never be tolerated in your home. Dads especially need to communicate to their kids that mom is always to be addressed with respect and that he too must be addressed respectfully. If you notice a general lack of respect in your home, call the family together and discuss it. An un-teachable child, one who thinks he knows more than his mom or dad, is headed for a world of pain and disappointment. Encourage your kids today to show respect to all of the adults in their lives. (Note, sometimes disrespect in little ones is excused as ‘shyness.’ Make it clear to your children that when you are with them, they are safe, and you expect them to always answer an adult who says hello or asks them a question. Explain to them that you understand their tendency to be shy, but shyness is never a valid excuse for being rude).