I think I’ve always held a pretty good external appearance of honor toward my parents and other figures of authority. Growing up, I learned quickly how to say and do the right things. My mom still tells me she never considered me to be dishonoring. But I know in my heart that I’ve struggled over the years with believing that I know best about pretty much everything. You may not think it’s possible, but I’ve even approached spirituality with a strong undertow of dishonor.
My parents are some of the most God-fearing people I know. They’ve committed to live holy lives that honor God. They’ve been faithful to each other and to raising a God-fearing family. They’ve served in their church my entire life, supporting the work that God is doing there. They’ve stood against empty religion and sought to share the genuine life-changing relationship that God has given them with others. They use their gifts and their talents to help others find a deeper more meaningful relationship with God. But, if you had run into me the summer before I went to college and asked me about my parents, you would have thought that I was being raised by faithless, compromising, religious wannabes who didn’t know the first thing about a real relationship with God. In the midst of true revival in my own life, I stopped looking to my parents as sources of guidance and wisdom. Over the years, I’ve realized that in many areas I was not benefiting from their input, but charting my own course.
Our culture celebrates the value of independence and self-reliance. It’s almost perceived a weakness to seek out advice and support from others, especially your parents. We make fun of children who live at home past high-school and we write-off the successes of those who build on the platforms and wealth they’ve inherited. Faith, knowledge, wealth, wisdom…there have been times where anything that I didn’t come by on my own, I didn’t consider valuable. A real man would have provided for himself! Maybe you can relate. I still struggle to place the same value on what I can learn from my parents, teachers and from my pastor as what I can come up with on my own. The truth, though, is that we shouldn’t be starting from scratch with every generation. I appreciate the confidence that comes from nurturing independence in children, but I’m also learning the importance of making sure we value the people God has given us to learn from.
What have you gained from your parents or other mentors? How much value is it to you?