On June 1, 2016, it will be two years since losing my father. In honor of his memory and his example of godly parenting, let’s address honoring your parents through your kids.
The oldest of three kids, I have decided my parents must have been clinically deranged. All three of their children were born less than five years apart. There is no logic for that kind of family planning.
When we were in the midst of screaming and fighting with one another, my dad would just kick back and laugh at us. “One day,” he would giggle, “you all are going to pay for your own raising when you have kids of your own.”
I had absolutely no idea what he meant at the time. I had been curious if there was a tollway on the road to parenting that we had to deposit funds into before becoming a mom and dad. then I wondered if there was some way I was supposed to pay my parents back financially for all they had done for me, as if they would present me with a bill upon my high school graduation.
A few short days after being home with two toddlers of my own, by way of an international adoption, I knew exactly what Dad had been referring to all those years before. As my two year old son smacked his six year old sister on the head with a toy and she screamed my name, I knew: I was paying for my own raising.
All those years of fighting with my siblings and tattling to my parents about this thing or that thing that had occurred between us, was being replayed now in my own living room. As I sat on the floor and explained to my kids the way we treated one another was not with open hands, but with love and respect, I got it. By teaching my children the right way, which had been modeled for me in my parent’s home growing up, I was “paying” them back for the way they raised my sibling and me.
One weekend when my parents were visiting, I asked Dad how a person actually knew they were paying for their own raising. His eyes sparkled and he leaned in close, as if to whisper a secret parenting gift passed down through generations.
“Sister, you’re paying for it right now. You are honoring your mother and I by teaching both of these babies about Jesus and how to love one another. It is the only payback we need. We’re proud of you baby girl and we couldn’t be more thankful than the woman and the mother you’ve become.”
I’ve had a lot of time to think about those words now. My little family has been together for over six years. While we are teaching them about how to love others and Jesus well in this life, it’s how my husband and I are paying back the way we were raised. It’s a form of honoring not only my husband’s parents, but mine as well.
Moses told the Israelites after meeting with God on Mt. Sinai
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 NIV
Perhaps the only true reward this side of heaven for parenting is seeing our children emulate good behavior and teach it to those around them.
Lindsey Andrews can be found at lindseyandrewswriter.com