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Believe or not, parents are one of your biggest assets.  Their successes…their failures…their experience…it’s all meant to help propel you to places far beyond where they could have ever hoped to go.

Unfortunately, most of us are not taking full advantage of what our parents have to offer.  Our relationship is not healthy enough to pass along lessons learned from one generation to another.  On top of that, our Western culture of independence makes us believe that true success is building everything on our own from the ground up.

The last decade of my life, I’ve been learning how to access this hidden potential in the relationships around me.  Here are some quick ideas on how to make the most of the relationship with your parents:

1.) Think MULTI-GENERATIONAL:To make the most of the relationship with our parents, we have to see life from a generational perspective.  God’s plan is that each generation would build on top of the other.  When we see things that way, we automatically start looking to our parents for our starting platform…and our children for our enduring legacy.

2.) Assign VALUE to your parents:  The Bible says that we should honor our father and mother.  The word ‘honor’ actually means to “fix value on”.  When we make a conscious decision that our parents are valuable and that their input is worth something, we posture ourselves to receive from what they have to offer.

3.) Show GRATITUDE: Just like us, our parents have emotional needs from the relationship.  When those needs are met, it makes it much easier for them to meet your needs.  A great way to help meet their needs is to communicate the positive things they’ve contributed to your life.  Be generous with your praise and you’ll start to notice a difference.

4.) FORGIVE.  Of course, not everything they contributed to your life was positive.  But you don’t have to hold that against them.  They are human and capable of mistakes just like you.  Holding their mistakes against them only hurts your ability to receive what you need from them.  It may be time to unclog the relationship by releasing forgiveness.

5.) Look for the BENEFITS.  When the Apostle Paul references the 5th Commandment to honor your father and mother in the Book of Ephesians, he points out that it is the first commandment with a promise…”that it will go well with you”.  There are actually benefits to having a great relationship with your parents.

What benefits do you see from having a relationship with your parents?

For more practical suggestions, see this previous post.