“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God will give you.” Exodus 20:17. “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.” Ephesians 6:1.

This commandment and admonition are taught to children early in their lives. Hopefully you have memorized these verses and are aware of the importance that God places on children obeying, honoring, and respecting their parents. Often it is very easy to obey these commands. We love our parents and we know they love us. Hopefully your parents and your family are very important to you.

But sometimes the relationship between parent and child gets strained. As we grow, more and more we want to control our own lives and make our own decisions. We think we know what is best for ourselves and often we resent it when our parents say no to us. Sometimes we think our parents are living in the dark ages and don’t understand life today. As this happens we often find it very easy to complain and even rebel against our parents and these Biblical commandments.

Parents also have a difficult time with these strains. It is hard to see your children grow and begin to make their own decisions. But parents have experience and a broader perspective than their children. They often can see the pitfalls and dangers that they and others have experienced from poor decisions. They understand the temptations their children will face and they want to protect their children from these. They do want what is best for their children and they often find it difficult to say no when they know that is best, but not very popular with their child.

But thank the Lord for parents who make the tough decisions and impose the limits that we all need as we grow and encounter new situations. As you grow older you will learn to see the wisdom of limits placed upon you by Christian parents. Hopefully, someday you will begin to understand your parents’ actions and the hard decisions that they had to make for your good. As you do, you will understand even better the commandments to honor and obey your parents.

And, by the way, the scriptures give many admonitions to parents, not just to children. For example, “The rod and reproof bring wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother … Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; he will delight your soul.” Proverbs 29:15,17.

Now what are some of the issues that may strain your relationship with your parents? How about something like “Why can’t I stay out later?” Thank the Lord if your parents put time constraints on your activities. They know that little good happens after certain hours at night. They know late hours can produce new temptations. They worry about your safety until you arrive home. They should know where you are, what you are doing, and when you will return. And, if an emergency should develop that would prevent you from being home on time, you must take the responsibility to call them and explain your emergency. Even when your Grammy was in her 20’s, working a regular job and still living at home, her curfew was midnight. She honored her parents, and the Lord, by obeying this rule.

Why can’t I have this? Everybody else has it. We heard this often when your dads were growing up. The fact that others may have it doesn’t mean you really need it. Maybe it is too expensive or not good for you. It is probably a want and not a need. Thank God for parents who don’t give their children everything they want but teach them the value of saving and planning and distinguishing between wants and needs. Hopefully you will learn the valuable lesson that we can’t always have all that we want but God will provide what we need when we trust Him.

Why must my parents meet and approve of my friends? “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.” I Corinthians 15:33 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away from it and pass on. Proverbs 4:14,15. Thank God for parents who monitor their children’s friends. Friends can be a positive or a very negative influence on a child. Too often children who are seeking acceptance from others can make bad decisions about their friends. And why would you really want friends who aren’t accepted by your parents? This is especially important in dating since when one begins to “fall in love” it often clouds one’s ability to make wise judgments and decisions and this often leads to bad life long commitments. Unfortunately, many of our friends have experienced this with their children who now lead very unhappy lives.

Why can’t I go? Not every place that your friends go might be profitable for you, even though you may face strong peer pressure to be there. Thank the Lord if your parents make a decision for you that you don’t have the courage to make yourself. This is especially true if drugs or alcohol might be present. If your friends can’t accept that, you don’t need them as friends.

Why can’t I wear that? Everybody else dresses like that. I had an advantage with that question. Teaching in a public high school for 39 years I saw what kids were actually wearing and I knew not everyone “dressed like that”. In fact I found that dress usually reflected the student’s self-esteem and reflected their attitude and achievement. Those who looked sloppy often were sloppy in their attitude and achievement. Dressing modestly is also a problem, especially for girls. Current styles and availability of clothing in stores often make it hard to find modest clothing. But it is essential to dress modestly because of the message your dress can send to others, especially those of the opposite sex. The scriptures warn us in Romans 12:2 not to be conformed to the pattern of this world. I hope you will choose to dress neatly and modestly demonstrating to others your attitude, your character, and your testimony.

Why must I study? I can’t earn straight A’s. Not everyone can earn straight A’s, although maybe you can. However, everyone can and must do their best. That means listening in class (even if it is dull and deadly), doing homework (even if it seems like busy work) and studying for tests. Your experiences in school are like a job and the pay-off for good work is usually a good job and a sound future. Don’t waste this experience, like many do. Thank the Lord if your parents encourage you to do your very best work, even if it is B or C work. For years I had a slogan posted in the front of my classroom. “Every work is a self-portrait of its author – autograph it with excellence!” As a Christian, you should do nothing less than your best!

Why must I go to church? I hope this is a question that you never ask, but, unfortunately, many teens and youth do argue about this issue with their parents. Church attendance and worship is as essential to your spiritual growth as a good diet and exercise are to your physical life. The scriptures also warn us “to forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”.  It is true that some days you may need to force yourself to go to church, just like some days you must force yourself to exercise or go to school or work.   But your church is where you can worship our faithful God, grow in faith, fellowship with other believers, and use your gifts to serve and minister. Satan will tell you that you don’t need this, but he is the great deceiver.  The Lord wants and deserves your worship.   Find a good church and get involved in its ministry so that you can grow, grow, grow in the Lord.

Remember …. honor and obey your parents … someday you will appreciate their wisdom.