The Time That I Wanted to Dishonor My Mother and Father

    Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord you God is giving you (Exodus 20:12).

    Here’s a bit of Bible trivia: This is the only one of the Ten Commandments that has a promise attached. The breakdown of the verse is that by honoring your parents, your lifetime will be prolonged.

    What does it mean to honor our parents? The word “honor” comes from the Hebrew word “kabad,” which means “to be heavy, be weighty, or to glorify.” The word “days” is a Hebrew word that refers to “lifetime.”

    This means that we treat our parents with respect, even when we might feel like they don’t deserve it. We are to give considerable weight to the wisdom and experience of our parents, to honor and glorify them.

    I remember one particular instance when I didn’t honor my parents: it was my senior prom. In the weeks leading up to prom, I got very sick. Knowing that prom was coming up, I kept my illness hidden from my mom as well as I could.

    At first I thought I only had a cold and it would be gone by prom night, but I just got sicker. My mom could see that I wasn’t getting any better, so she suggested that I stay home from my senior prom and go to the doctor instead. Stubbornly, I said I would go to the doctor only if she made the appointment for the day after prom. I went to prom anyway.

    Here’s why I should’ve honored my mother by listening to her: I got sick in the middle of getting my hair done that afternoon; I was miserable; I took the worst pictures of my life that night; I only stayed at the dance for about an hour; and I didn’t dance at all! The next day, we went to the doctor. I didn’t have a cold–I had a severe case of tonsillitis.

    We may be tempted to dishonor our parents in the following situations:

    • Our parents tell us we can’t do something but don’t provide a reason why
    • We are angry about getting in trouble for something that “wasn’t a big deal”
    • We think that our parents won’t understand or listen to what we have to say
    • A parent has embarrassed us (intentionally or unintentionally)
    • We’ve had a particularly bad day

    The reality is that our parents were teenagers once and they remember what it was like. It’s true that the world was a different place when our parents were growing up, but they still dealt with feeling rebellious, boy-crazy, confused, depressed, and frustrated with their own parents.

    Honoring our parents doesn’t mean that you always agree with them. It means that you treat them with respect. It means that you listen when they speak. Have you ever been in a situation when your parents gave you advice, but you disregarded it and did something that you thought would be better? Was it? Or did you discover that it might have been wise to have listened to your parents?

    For most of us, our parents have known us since the day we were born. They know our personalities and they’ve watched us grow up and develop into the people that we are. Our parents are full of wisdom. When we seek wisdom from our parents and God, we make better decisions and are less likely to engage in activities that will harm us. That is how honoring our parents prolongs our days.

    How do you show honor to your parents?

    Hear, my child, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching; for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck (Proverbs 1:8-9).

    Jenn Arman
    Jenn Arman is a youth pastor, freelance writer and blogger. She was born in San Diego, California and raised 2 hours north east in the Inland Empire where she lives with her husband David and their cats. Jenn desires to bring glory to God and a healthy dose of reality to Christians through both writing and preaching. Visit for more on her work. You can also connect with her on and


    1. I often disrespect my mom, many times unintentionally. I’m trying to be better about it and respect her, and not give what she calls ‘attitude’, but it’s just the way I am. I can’t just sit and let my mom and step dad say something about me (to me) that’s not true (they may think it is, though, so it’s not intentional), or my mom says I’m being rude, though I don’t mean to be. Apparently, I often use a disrespectful tone, though I don’t mean to, and my mom never understands when I’m joking, but my brother and step dad do. Sometimes, I just don’t know what to do, and lock myself in my room so I don’t talk to anyone, and therefore, don’t get in trouble.

    2. Actually my mom doesn’t know what i’m going threw! Because she didn’t have a disease when she was growing up! And she wasn’t bullied ALL the time! So yeah. She doesn’t know what i’m going threw

    3. What would you suggest if there was a girl whose dad constantly told her she was obsessed with older boys when it wasn’t true? Just because exactly 3 of her friends wer seniors, and he never listened no matter what she told him?

    4. I’m living with my non-Christian mother and stepfather, but I still keep well in contact with my Catholic dad. I love and honor my parents, but sometimes the things they say can be just plain stupid. Often my mom and stepfather unintentionally say things that go against God, and act all exasperated when I point it out. I’ve learned to tell when they’re telling me something that will help me, which I should obey and honor, from mindless ramblings that will hurt me if I think about it too much. For example, my stepdad told me to buy a card for my mom even though I always carefully draw and color her something, because “It’s cheap and she wouldn’t like it. How would you like it if I scribbled ‘Happy Birthday’ on a scrap of paper and handed it to you on your birthday?” I seemed to have made the right choice in not listening to his discouraging comment, because later my mom told me she’ll always love things I draw for her. On occasion you have to really think about it, pray, and the answer will come.

      Also though it is never okay to argue and yell at and disobey your parents, they are suprisingly easy to peacefully negotiate with, if you show you’re mature enough. Respectfully ask WHY you can’t go to Prom. If your parents think you’re too young to stay out so late or anything like that, instead of “You treat me like a baby,” how about “Can we work something out, maybe I could call you when I get there and you pick me up at 10 and I stay with my group of friends, no boys, and I call you right away if there’s trouble?” If they’re persistant, just let it go. These guys do feed you, after all, so be mature about accepting you can’t go to the movies with your friends, keep on top of your grades and chores, and maybe next time your friends call you up asking you if you wanna see a movie, your parents just might say “You know, you were so mature last time we told you no, and you’ve been so responsible, I think I’ll let you go this time!”

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