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
This past week, I’ve been thinking about how to properly honor my father and mother. My parents and I came upon a moment of discord recently when we had differing opinions over a decision that I was trying to make. I let them know what I was thinking, and they essentially said to me, “this is the decision you are going to make, no question about it.” I felt very differently about the situation, but because I knew that I had to honor them, I took their decision without much dissention.
Throughout that day my thoughts kept going back to the idea of how to honor my parents as an adult. The way they told me which decision to make made me feel very much like a child again. However, no longer am I a child in need of total instruction. At 23 years old, I am fully grown (although I am not saying that I have no areas in which I can grow). If my job situation were different, I would already be in my second year of living on my own. I realized that the challenge I’m facing right now is how to be an adult while still living under my parent’s roof.
My father and I had a great conversation on this topic a couple days ago, and I truly appreciated what he had to add to my thoughts. He mentioned how, when he was 23, he’d already been living on his own as a missionary in Puerto Rico for two years. He was considered much more like an “adult” since he was living like one. I felt like he took one of his final thoughts right out of my head: if I were financially able to be on my own, these issues would not be so pressing—it would seem much more natural for me to be the “final” decision maker in my life.
After Dad spoke about his life at 23 and how it is different from mine, I was able to explain that I didn’t want to be disrespectful to them, but I just didn’t agree with how they’d told me what my decision would be. In fact, I didn’t think they should be telling me which decision to make at all. From a lot of thought and prayer on the Scriptures and words from those wiser than me, I came to an understanding of how I should be honoring my parents in my adulthood. Instead of letting them make my decisions as they did in my childhood, I should go to them looking for input and wisdom of people who have done this all before. But in the end, the final decision is mine to make. Today I was able to speak with both of them about my decision which lead to a huge turning point for the three of us (my parents and I). They both said they agreed with what I was sharing about using their input and then making my own decision. It was a huge relief to reach common ground on this issue through prayer and respectful conversations. And I feel much more adult-like. :]
Now I don’t write any of this thinking that making decisions like this will always be easy on my parents or myself, but you’ve got to start somewhere. These struggles in being treated like an adult by your parents are not solely applicable to me, but they seem to be magnified since I still live with my parents. Has anyone else ever had to go through these “growing pains” with your family? Or do you have any words of wisdom to share?