If you were raised in a religious home, you probably are well familiar with the commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.” I wonder how much we understood what the word HONOR meant. Could it be that this commandment was used to override any thoughts or feelings that we as children had?
Honor, according to Webster, means “to have high respect and regard.” How many children are taught that honor means that you do what your parents say regardless of what you know or feel? How many parents also took honor to mean that children will listen and obey regardless of what the child may be feeling or knowing?
There has been a misunderstanding of this commandment for generations.
In addition to not knowing what honor means, many parents and children were not taught what respect looks like, sounds like, or feels like.
Again, I turn to Webster to help clarify what respect is; “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.” Notice that it does not say obey at any cost or go against one’s beliefs or what is true for oneself.
This brings me to the commandment that was omitted, “Parents honor your children.” I do not know why this one was left out. God saw that people were not getting the whole honor concept, so he sent Enlightened Ones to show us what that is. A new and greater commandment came: “Love others as you love yourself; Do unto others as you would like done unto you.” To have regard and respect for someone is doing unto others as you want them to do unto you.
This whole concept hit me today as I was doing my hair. A memory of my mother came to me about when she would cut my hair. I really did not like how she cut my hair, especially my bangs. She was ingenious in that she used scotch tape to make an even cut, and even so, I never liked how it looked. (I still cannot wear my bangs straight).
This morning I went through what an honoring conversation might have been with my mom on this topic:
Mom: You look upset about getting your hair cut.
Me: Yes, I appreciate what you are doing, but I don’t like it when you cut my bangs.
Mom: Do you know why you don’t like it?
Me: I don’t like how I look with straight bangs. I feel ugly.
Mom: I am so glad you told me. I didn’t know you felt this way. How would you like your hair cut?
Me: I would like to see what it would be like to have my bangs grow out.
Mom: I am concerned that you will always have them in your eyes until they grow out. What do you suggest you can do to keep them out of your eyes?
Me: I can wear a headband until they get long enough to pull behind my ears or use hair clips.
Mom: Let’s see how that goes. I am glad we had this conversation.
Me: Thank you Mom for listening to me. If it doesn’t work, we can try something else.
I know that this may seem like a silly example, but I also get that the things that parents think are little and have no meaning, can be quite meaningful for kids.
And in this case, I felt that my mother did not care how I felt which meant that my feelings didn’t matter. This grew into a belief that I carried (and still face from time to time) that what I feel doesn’t matter; I don’t matter. It even went so far that it wasn’t until today, that I realized that this one part of my life contributed to this belief.
Now I can see it for what it truly was- my mom had no idea what I felt and I know she would have cared if she had known. She was doing the best she could based on her upbringing – “Kids do what kids are told.”
Just going through this process has lifted the load of unworthiness for me in ways that bring more freedom to myself as I look to respect me more, and respect where my mother was coming from – she had no intention of doing me harm.
As parents, we can teach our kids what respect is, by having respect for them. Having regards for their feelings and acknowledging those feelings as real is how we all want to be treated. And by doing so, does not mean that we always get our way either. (another discussion for another day)
This may be a new way of being for some parents, as they have not had this experience themselves. I had to start this journey of learning respect and honor by doing it for myself. As I learned to stop judging myself and to stop compromising myself for others, it has become easier for me to respect and honor my friends and family in the true essence of what those words mean.
Children, like parents, crave to be acknowledged and valued at their very core. As an empowered parent, taking effort and strides to be more honoring of ourselves and our children, we will be contributing to making this world a greater, kinder, honoring place to live; something we truly need now.
Mary shares her desire to create different possibilities for families and individuals who are looking to live a more conscious and aware lifestyle. BE YOU Parenting is for parents who want to BE all that they truly BE and to allow their kids the same privilege.