Some kids think God gave them parents just so that they could get presents for Christmas each year. Do your kids see you that way? I sure hope not. In one of Aesop’s Fables, he told the story of a man who lived at home with one of his grown, married children. As he grew older, he became very frail. When he joined his daughter and son-in-law at the kitchen table for meals, he would sometimes spit and make an awful mess. The young adults got tired of dealing with the older man’s disturbance, so they made him eat his food alone in a corner. As the man’s condition got worse, his kids made him eat out of a little wooden trough like an animal.

Then one day, the young couple saw their four-year-old son making a little trough. He told them he was making it for them when they got older. Suddenly, they realized what they had been doing. That night, Father was back at the table.

We ought to treat our parents with respect, even if they’re old, they repeat themselves, and they can’t do anything for us anymore. If for nothing other than the fact that they brought us into this world, they deserve to be honored. That doesn’t just mean paying Mom and Dad’s bills. Love and take care of them. And remember, the way you treat your parents will be the way your kids treat you.

You might not have had the best family situation growing up. Maybe you grew up in a single-parent home, or you were the victim of abuse. Or you might have had great parents. Do you honor them? Have you called them lately or taken them out for dinner? Think of some ways you can honor your parents, and do something for them at least once a month. Treat your parents the way you want to be treated, and your kids will return the favor.

Yea, though your parents be never so poor in the world, or weak of understanding, yea, though they were ungodly, you must honor them notwithstanding all this; though you cannot honor them as rich, or wise, or godly, you must honor them as your parents. — Richard Baxter

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder