When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Honor your parents

What does the word honor mean to you? The dictionary defines honor as: "to hold in honor or high respect; revere. To treat with honor.
An honorable man or woman is one who is truthful; free from deceit; above cheating, lying, stealing, or any form of deception. An honorable man or woman is one who learns early that one cannot do wrong and feel right.  A man’s character is judged on how he keeps his word and his agreements, not only to other men, but also to our Heavenly Father.
Heavenly Father has been very specific and clear on how we should conduct our lives as members of His Church. His laws are given to us in the scriptures and through latter day prophets.
President Ezra Taft Benson talked about how the "Ten Commandments describe our relationship to God, to family, and to our fellowman.

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    Those four commandments demonstrate ways in which we honor God. The next commandment demonstrates how we honor our family relationships.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother.

    There is no true greatness without honor to parents and progenitors. The last five demonstrate ways we respect our relationship with others.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  10. Thou shalt not covet (Ex. 20:3–4, 7–8, 12–17).

You can readily see that if each individual honored these commandments, society—the sum of individuals—would scorn irreverence, uphold the Sabbath, honor parents and marital vows, and practice virtue".

Can you imagine what society would be like if we lived as God commanded?

I learned what the commandments were a long time ago and have them memorized.  I can recite them easily.  
But sometimes, it is hard to live them!  For me, learning to obey the commandment to honor you parents, has been one of the most difficult. I could bore you with details about why, but I heard a very good talk yesterday on not making excuses. It seems like good advice to me, so suffice it to say, that I do not remember a very large part of my childhood, and most of those things that I do remember are not very good. I had a hard time getting past the not so good, and learning to obey the important commandment of Honoring my parents.  It has taken me a long time to reach the point of forgiveness and healing.  I believe that each one of us need forgiveness and healing.  No matter who we are, or what type of life we have led.  Because I need that blessing and want my Heavenly Father to provide it for me, I also believe that I must forgive those perceived hurts in my own life.  In order to move into the future, we need to let go of the hurts from the past.
That being said, one of the things that I learned the most from my past is that we each control our own life.  I am the only one responsible for my decisions.  Other people can do things to me, but I allow them to impact my life in a good or bad way. 
I think that the part of my life that has helped me in learning the meaning of honor is to become a parent myself.  I remember the days with some of my older girls when they would make statements like: "MY KIDS are never going to act like that!"  or "MY KIDS are never going to be allowed to wear clothes like that!"  Or my personal favorite, "MY KIDS are only going to have ten toys and they will NOT be noisy toys!"  It is amazing how much your perspective changes when you actually have children of your own.
Life is so much different than those childhood dreams could ever be.  All of your opinions and ideals have a tendancy to fly right out the window when parenthood flies in.  I love the quote that says:  "Before I had children, I had six different theories on how to raise them better;  Now I have six children and no theories!"  I know that I am not perfect, but I also know that I have done my best.  I know that I learned what type of parent I did not want to be, and that I have tried to be a better one.  I have made so many mistakes, and I want so much for my children to be able to forgive me for them.  It is always heartbreaking to look back and know that the person you are now, could do so much better than the person you were then!  Part of honoring your parents is in turning your heart to your ancestors and it is found in remembering the good in them and not focusing all your attention on the mistakes and pain.  It is in remembering that they are human and make mistakes.
And so, I also learned one of the greatest lessons in this life, how to forgive. 
“Here is my counsel to children. The Lord gave you a commandment with a promise: ‘Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee’ (Mosiah 13:20). It is the only one of the Ten Commandments with a promise. You may not have parents that are living. In some cases, you may not feel that your parents are worthy of the honor and respect of their children. You may not even have ever known them. But you owe them life. And in every case, even if your life is not lengthened, its quality will be improved simply by remembering your parents with honor.”
Henry B. Eyring, “Our Perfect Example,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 72

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