By Craig Funston
You’ve seen the professional football dude, during his television interview, send his “yo momma” message back Georgia, haven’t you? The player will face the camera and speak squarely into the mike, as he makes sure his message gets out. Note, though, that it’s never his dad, just his mom.
Hockey players, on the other hand, when they have the same opportunity, will thank both parents indirectly—meaning they will say positive things about their parents to the interviewer, but not into the camera.
Either way, anytime a player acknowledges his parent(s), it’s a good thing, and a good lesson for us all.
We non-jocks tend to (or at least should) do it ourselves usually twice a year, whether or not we’ve scored a touchdown or goal: it’s called Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and it comes in the form of a phone call or a card to our parents, respectively. Mind you, not all kids do it each year, I can assure you, but it’s nice when some token honour is given to them..
With that, I introduce our fifth of ten commandments, namely, “honour your father and mother”. Unfortunately, this is a stretch for many.
It’s a stretch if the father has abandoned the family, and the child doesn’t even know who he is. It’s tough if father’s gone, but there are multiple father-figures (mother’s “lovers”). Or, father is not gone from the family, but he’s never around (must not have read and followed the previous commandment perhaps). So that’s a hard one, too. And finally, father is home but, read slowly, he demands honour, but doesn’t command it.
The above is true for mothers, too (“honour your father and mother”). If you’re like Maurice, I’ll need to explain: you need to honour both.
Parenting has many heavy demands, so a card here or call there is such an encouragement
Please note that this commandment is directed towards the kids, not the parents. And, unlike the other commandments, it comes with a promise and a blessing.
Sometimes there is a little confusion between the words “honour” and “obey.” At times they are inter-changed, as if they mean the same thing. Well, they don’t.
Children must obey and honour their parents. But as they grow up and mature, then move on and out, the obedience part is no longer required, but the honour part is for life.
Take me, as an example. I left home just days before I got married, thirty-six years ago. Up till the day I left, I obeyed and honoured my folks (okay, not consistently or willingly, but more or less until I went to university ). But once I left, things changed, though not too drastically. To this day, I still honour my widowed mother in a variety of ways (weekly phone calls come to mind).
The practice of honouring those in authority in those formative years has stood me in good stead over many decades. I transferred that attitude to other authorities over the years and in different spheres. For myself, once I learned to honour my parents, it was natural to honour my classroom teacher, the officer on the street, the elders in the church, and my boss in the workplace.
The inverse is tragically true as well, namely, a lack of honouring one’s parents can easily lead to insubordination, frustration, rebellion, even anarchy.
The societal gain of the young honouring those in authority (eg., the student or citizen or employee honouring the school or the law, or the business) would be incalculable, utterly incalculable.
There are too many societal benefits to list here, but, suffice to say, petty crime, unemployment, and personal vices would be drastically impacted. Eradicated? No. Diminished? Yes.
There is nothing inherently religious about honouring one’s parents. But there is something inherently practical and productive about it.