TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• About a week ago, I had a conversation with a friend that has lingered in my mind. And depending on how old you are, you may or may not see the pattern:
When it comes to television, we’ve watched a systematic progression. From the perfect “Ozzy and Harriet” family to “Andy Griffith Show” wholesomeness to “The Cosby Show” and “Full House” — we had years of television that depicted family life. There was lots of laughter. Even some tears. And there was discipline.
I still think of an episode of “The Cosby Show” when Vanessa snuck off to a concert. She was caught in her lie, and for me, it remains one of the most real and relatable TV scenes ever. Mrs. Huxtable went off on Vanessa about her night of “big fun.” Even as a kid, when I saw this episode, I never thought the character was unfair or mean. She was justifiably angry at a breach in trust with her daughter, and as a mother myself now — I get it. I’ve had a few of those, “Here we think you’re lying in the floor of some burning building dying of asphyxia, and you’re down in Baltimore, having BIG FUN!” conversations myself.
But the clear message — back then on TV — parents were parents and kids were kids.
However, more recent shows depict the parents as idiots and the kids as either the one in control or figuring things out for themselves. I admit — this is a challenge for me to write because I don’t watch much TV. Aside from “The Office” reruns, which have nothing to do with parenting, I’m just not that up to date on recent sitcoms. But I do know “The Simpsons” is a great example. For over 30 years, Homer Simpson has been the idiot father. “Family Guy,” “Married With Children,” “Shameless,” “Hannah Montana,” and “iCarley” are some of the shows that came up in my homework on TV shows featuring baffoon parents. And as much as it pains me, to some degree, “Fuller House” belongs on that list. I loved the “Full House” reboot, but it had its moments when the child(ren) were more mature than the parents.
In short, recent years have had plenty of sitcoms where parents were shown as the incompetent fools that kids had to tolerate.
And we have the consequences of this “entertainment” in front of us. Kids speaking disrespectfully to parents and a flagrant disregard for adults and people in positions of authority.
Right now, this isn’t something I have to monitor. I don’t have a young child in my home, and there are no grandchildren in the foreseeable future. But it’s a topic we should still care about. Especially as families are home and together more.
Respect. Kindness. Love. Honor. These are of significant importance to a home. We see it in the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments are centered around how we treat God, but the rest are centered on how we treat others, starting with, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). It’s also a package-deal commandment that comes with a promise.
Between the examples of idiotic parents on TV, we seem to have a national stigma against authority. Authority has become synonymous with dictatorship. But it’s not. It’s about respect. And we learn how to respect people in positions of authority when we respect our parents. I think when it comes to how we treat others, that’s why God put “honor your father and mother” first on the list. It’s where we first learn it.
And while children should honor and obey their parents, the standard by which parent-child relationships are held starts with the parents. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”
I’m not about to get into a debate about corporal punishment, so if you disagree with me — I’ll just say now — we will agree to disagree. But I will say this: I was spanked. Not often (because I was an angel 99% of the time, ha ha), but I was. And I didn’t grow up hating my parents. I didn’t resent them. I knew whatever punishment I received was being done from a place of love. That said, as a parent, I recognize that corporal punishment has a fine line. But I don’t think we should be afraid of it. Every parent knows what it’s going to take to get their children’s attention. For some, a stern lecture is enough. Other kids need more. Again, I’m not going to get into a debate on this. There is a marked difference between spanking and abuse. They are not the same.
Moving away from that topic, we can’t let our families fall into this trap where the kids raise themselves or think they have authority over their parents. Children aren’t mean to raise themselves. We need to return to the time when it was okay for children to have a healthy respect for the authority of their parents. And when the situation warrants it, we need it to be okay for parents to discipline their children.
As we watch the temper tantrums from grown adults across America, we can see where this lack of respect, honor, and boundaries have gotten us. Let’s reclaim our families and remember — parents do have access to a “How to Parent” Manual. It’s called the Holy Bible, and it was ordained by the most perfect of parents — our Heavenly Father.
Today, as you pray, thank God for being the perfect Father. While parenting is hard, He has modeled the perfect way of parenting — from loving us completely to even disciplining us when we need it. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you if you’re parenting a young child in your home. And if you’re not – ask Him to guide the parents you know and throughout the world. Ask Him to help the next generation to return to a place of honor and respect for their parents. And ask Him to empower parents to be the authority figure in their homes, including disciplining their children from a place of love.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.