By Craig Funston
I have been in enough homes, classrooms and workplaces in the last 40 years where I have seen, heard, and even felt a serious lack of honour towards those in authority. And it’s not a pretty sight, sound, or feeling, I can assure you.
I assume you likely have experienced the same breakdown.
The resulting tension and stress is very unhealthy, and no doubt it has spawned all manner of phobias, anger, and mental disorders that can be directly attributed to this “honour collapse.”
A little caveat is in order here: Where do you draw the line when it comes to honouring what you cannot honour? The stickler, in my mind, is when honour is due, but the object is not honourable. That’s worth a column on its own, but I really have no original thoughts on that right now.
When kids are trained in a warm and consistent way, by parents who love each other, and them, families are better off. Actually, we’re all better off: schools, streets, public gatherings, and workplaces. Absolutely no question about it.
Let’s start with the kids themselves: They are not designed to get their own way all the time, or show disrespect or contempt when they don’t. Parents are to train and mould them to be self-disciplined and others-oriented. I know, I know, that’s a gross over-simplification, but you get my point.
It’s unhealthy for kids to get what they want when they want it (okay, I may give in to demand breastfeeding). If they do, they could grow up and be demanding, insubordinate monsters—hey wait, maybe that’s what wrong with many kids these days.
Honouring one’s father and mother, then, means respecting their rules, their expectations, their house and all its possessions. You see, when one learns to respect one’s own property and possessions, it follows that there will be a greater respect for other people’s property and possessions. Hence, vandalism and burglary would diminish. (We’ll touch on that further when we tackle the “don’t steal” commandment.)
Kids who honour their parents don’t mouth off at them, defy them, and go out of their way to break their hearts. Parents don’t even have to be present for that to kick in: A kid who honours father and mother even when the parents are absent is a well-trained kid, and is on his or her way to becoming a well-balanced citizen.
And that’s where the societal benefit comes in.
As an aside, and a big one at that, when the family unit breaks down, ie., by desertion or divorce, the biggest losers in the skirmish are the kids themselves. Oftentimes with that breakdown comes broken hearts and spirits, bitterness and anger, often leading to poor attitudes towards others in authority.
When kids become adults (they do grow up, you know), and if that baggage has not been properly dealt with, then drink, drugs, promiscuity, and insubordination ensue. This is not good for the person in question, his or her relationships, and society at large.
And it all begins with the lack of honouring one’s parents.
To be honest, this is a gross over-simplification, but I’m writing a column, not a doctoral dissertation.
I can think of countless authorities, besides parents (teachers, employees, pastors, peace officers, for starters) out there that would think they died and went to heaven if their subordinates would treat them with a little respect. Note, I didn’t say “a little more respect”; I said just a little respect.
Respect is far more than lip service (“yes dad” [mom]). It’s a full package here,: attitude, tone, and lifestyle, We would be so much better off if we could honour those in authority.
It starts with us adults: Maybe we could model what it means to honour those around us.