This week's Torah portion dealt with Deut. 3:23-7:11. It has to do with the Shema (Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your G-d, Adonai is one....") but also with the 10 Words or Commandments. The fifth commandment is the one our commentary took up. For those who can't remember what the 5th commandment is, it says to "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you. (Deuteronomy 5:16)"
The commentary goes on to state the obvious....that today's society teaches our kids that it's more important to be 'cool' and disrespect your parents. I know that while I was still teaching in the public schools, I was horrified to see how many kids (even elementary kids!!!) would back talk and sass their parents. I was reprimanded more than once for stepping in and telling a student that it was disrespectful to talk to their parents that way! (Oh well, the parents were shocked, and grateful, but the principal felt I'd stepped over my 'bounds' while silently agreeing with me.) As this world seems to be hurtling faster and faster to some kind of explosion or perhaps a glorious reappearing, it seems our children are getting worse and worse about not knowing how to honor their parents. It just breaks my heart to see the disrespect shown parents. Even by many in MY generation!!!!! (and we're older than dirt, let me tell ya!!!!!!) Which reminds me, that even though you're grown, does not mean you get a free pass on this one!!! Many times, showing respect for an aging or chronically ill parent is even more difficult, but we're called to do it! After all, without parents, we wouldn't be here.....think about that a minute. Ok, back to the gist of this......
But this does not have to be so. There's an easy fix. If parents will respect each other (I know that's tough in this world of instant divorce and step families, but it CAN be done!!!!) and show that respect in front of the children, it would go miles in teaching our kids how to act. I know Dodi is INCREDIBLE about not allowing Little Critter to diss me. And I in return will put a stop to disrespect towards Dodi in a heartbeat! Not that we 'jump and bash' Little Critter....but we will not allow disrespect. We also crack down on disrespect to any adult!!!! Several of his little friends were shocked when we wouldn't allow them to call us by our first names.
"Why ever not?!?!" , they asked us. We told them that it was a form of respect and that as they got older, and had to deal with bosses and co workers, it would stand them in good stead. These kinds of manners would help them get ahead, be treated better than others, and give them far more friends. They were surprised. Now, these are 9-11 year olds. Why were we having to teach this idea to them?????Because parents had not. Shame on those parents. We can no longer expect our kids to learn manners in school, or one hour of church. As parents, it's our responsibility and DUTY to teach our children. Can we demand honor and respect? Of course not. If we treat them like dirt, they of course will have no respect for us. But if we treat them as the amazing gift from YHVH that they are, teaching them to honor and respect us will be fairly easy. And if they can honor and respect us, it's easy to honor and respect others....and if that happens, well, the blessings WILL flow to them! YHVH promised. So let's be sure we're teaching our kids HOW to honor others...not just with words, but with actions. And while we're teaching our children, let's not forget all those children in our sphere of influence. If each of us teach our children, and 3 of their friends, we could easily make a major difference in the attitudes of this world. What an amazing idea! So as you contemplate my ideas here, and ask Papa to show you His truth, don't forget to look for the blessings He's given you. You'll find them gathered around your table, living in your house and taking flight from your nest. Be sure you thank Him for them.....they are truly an amazing blessing. Now teach them well. Shabbat Shalom, Spitfire