Honor Your Father and Your Mother: The Duties of Children
The role of children isn’t one that we often think of as an actual duty within the family household. The father and mother are those of authority within the household, and God is King within the home. Children are to listen to their parents, do what they are asked, behave well, and if you misbehave you’ll probably be grounded, or put on the step for a time out. Fear not, children! You have duties! The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that
Filial respect is shown by true docility and obedience. “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. . . . When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.” “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” ( The Catechism of the Catholic church 2216).
Being twenty-one and the oldest of three kids, I am definitely aware of the roles that I have around the house. On my days off, I’m supposed to clean where there is a mess, start supper, ensure that if I’m told to do a specific chore around the house that it is done, and on top of that do what I must do for myself during my days off that I don’t have time to do when I’m working. School is on top of all that.
2217 As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”22 Children should also obey the reasonable directions of their teachers and all to whom their parents have entrusted them. But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so.
As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Let us define obedience. Obedience is Compliance with someone’s wishes or orders or acknowledgment of their authority. It also includes submission to a law or rule. It can sound pretty harsh when you read it. When you think about it, though, parents have the duty to care for their children however they must. If children didn’t have duties, well we would simply sit around all day and probably be disobedient to every other authority figure they encounter in the years to come.What the parents ask of their children has to be done, unless it goes against God.
2218 The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude.
For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother.
O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him. . . . Whoever forsakes his father is like a blasphemer, and whoever angers his mother is cursed by the Lord.
Our parents will not be with us here on Earth forever. There may be a time where our responsibilities must shift. We may be the ones they rely on in their old age, during times of poor physical health, breakdowns, financial struggles, or other issues that may put them in difficult and perhaps life threatening times of their lives. They will look to us for help, for attention, for a sign that we haven’t forgotten them even though we are busy with their own lives.
2215 Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace. “With all your heart honor your father, and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that through your parents you were born; what can you give back to them that equals their gift to you?”
Sometimes we forget that it was our parents that took part in God’s creation of us. God blessed them with us as their children. We owe them for that at least. How often were they up into the wee hours of the morning with us crying even though they tried everything to get us to sleep? How many times have they clothed us, fed us, and bathed us as children? As we have grown, how often have they had to put up with our complaints against their requests, disobeyed them, fought against them, or disappointed them when we turn away from them?
Mary was obedient to God in her ‘Yes’ to do God’s will and be the Mother of Christ. Christ demonstrated perfect obedience to His Heavenly father. He did what the Father asked him to, even death on the cross for the salvation of souls.
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:13-14)
Christ calls us all as children to come to Him. God, our Father, asks for our obedience, love, and respect. By honoring our own parents here on Earth, we are obeying the word of God, and showing Him our love through the love of our parents.
Posted on December 5, 2012, in Catholic, child, education, faith, family, knowledge, Love, marriage, Parenting, prayer, Religious Life, school, Vocations and tagged baby, Catechism of the Catholic Church, children, faith, family, father, honor, honour, love, mother, Vocation. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.