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The Blessings that Come from Honoring Parents

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
As parents, we should understand that our lives are living epistles that our children are reading.

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God commands mothers and fathers to disciple their children, and teach them to observe all the biblical directives for living an abundant Christian life. Although many informal teaching moments present themselves throughout the course of every day, we must actually schedule time to formally teach our children about the things of God. In this second installment of an eleven-part series on parenting, Dr. Dunlap explores six ways for parents to teach their children obedience.

God commands mothers and fathers to disciple their children, and teach them to observe all the biblical directives for living an abundant Christian life. As parents, we often discover many informal teaching moments as we go through the course of our daily routines.

However, when we schedule times to formally teach our children, we should remember to consider the ages of our children, and the length of their attention spans. We should try to use a variety of teaching methods to maintain our children’s interest in the truths we are seeking to teach. Timing is also important. We should not attempt to teach young children, for example, when they are hungry, tired, or not feeling well.

Mothers and fathers should be aware of the fact that our lives are living epistles that are read by our children.


Parents also teach by example, whether it is positive or negative. The apostle Paul exhorted others to imitate his life, as he imitated Jesus Christ. It has been wisely suggested that Christianity is more “caught” than “taught.”


Children have a keen ability to sense whether or not an authority figure is living an authentic Christian lifestyle. It is foolish for us to try to communicate spiritual truths to our children that we ourselves are unwilling to embrace.

It is important for us to keep biblical goals in mind as we train our children.

Paul describes a training process in Hebrews 5:14,

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Someone who trains for an athletic event practices the same thing over and over again, in order to be the best that he or she can be. Athletes maintain their motivation by focusing on the goal of winning. We train our children to walk in a manner that pleases God by focusing on certain teaching goals.

1.  We must teach our children to obey and honor their parents.

a.      We help our children memorize Ephesians 6:1-3 as soon as they can talk: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”

b.      We train our children to be attentive by teaching them to acknowledge our commands. They should repeat our words back to us before they leave to carry out the command. Then they should report to us when they have thoroughly completed the task.

c.      We insist upon prompt obedience. Our goal is to lead our children to understand that to delay is to disobey. They should obey instantly, and not allow themselves to be distracted by other people or activities.

d.      We explain to our children that in order to be obedient they must understand what we want them to do, and exactly how we want them to do it. We should encourage our children to ask questions if they do not have all the information they need to obey us.

e.      We expect our children to obey cheerfully, without murmuring or complaining. They should be aware of the fact that grumbling displeases God and dishonors their parents.

f.        We teach our children the principle of a biblical appeal. If their parents or any other authority ever asks them to do something that violates Scripture, they are responsible before God to respectfully make an appeal.

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