Teenagers have a problem with authority. However, there is a single authority that most teens, including myself, have the most conflicts with: our parents.
Our parents are a profoundly influential authority throughout our early lives, and consequently, are the ones we push back against the most. Regardless of whether we think we know better or not, adhering to the Fourth Commandment is important and necessary. Honoring our parents, however, isn’t as simple as just doing what they say, as many teens have been told or taught.
Moreover, the Fourth Commandment is not confined to biological parents, but to anyone who fulfills the parental role in one’s life.
Honoring our parents goes beyond simple obedience, although that is certainly a part of it. It encompasses a much wider range of our interactions with the world and with others. Our parents are the first to teach us manners and morals and oftentimes are the first to introduce us to religion.
The way we act once we go out into the world is a reflection of our parents. In other words, our actions don’t only reflect who we are, but have consequences for our parents as well. By using what they have hopefully taught us, we are not only showing ourselves to be good people, but also honoring our parents by reflecting their efforts.
Another important aspect of honoring our parents is allowing them to help us. While we often shut them out when it comes to our problems or thoughts, this isolation is usually not the best avenue to a healthy and holy life.
Part of the role of parents is to help and guide us through our early life and into adulthood. By shutting them out, we are not only denying them their purpose, but we are denying a gift from God. Our parents, or anyone who fulfills that parental role, are gifts from God sent to help us reach him. The love of our parents is, ideally, a reflection of the love of God in the sense that it is unconditional.
An example of this unconditional love is our parents wanting to spend time with us. In our teenage years, we are usually not very pleasant to be around. We are moody, talk back and do everything we can to isolate ourselves.
In spite of these mannerisms, our parents still want to spend time with us. Not because we’re fun to be around all the time, but because they love us, even at our worst. By accepting the love of our parents, we are, in a way, also accepting God.
Honoring our parents is not confined solely to our biological parents. Not everyone knows their parents, but everyone has someone in their life that fills that parental role, whether they are aware of it or not. Those who act in their place ensure that we have some form of human guidance on our path to adulthood. This person could be a grandparent, a legal guardian, maybe even a teacher or a coach, who has been put into our lives for a reason. That being said, these individuals deserve the same respect and love as if they were our parents.
Parents, or those in place of them, are an important part of our lives. Whether we like it or not, they know and want what is best for us. Parents stick with us through our tumultuous time as a teenager. They guide us on our path to discovering who and what we want to become.
Honoring them isn’t only a gesture of goodwill; it is a sign of appreciation and love.
Parents show their love to us in many ways, and if we cannot honor our father and mother, whose love resembles the love of God, then how can we truly accept and honor God? The answer, in short, is that we cannot.
It is crucial not only to obey our parents but to love them and accept the love that they wish to give to us.
Aidan Everett is a junior at Subiaco Academy. He attends St. Michael Church in Van Buren.
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