Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Honor One’s Father and Mother – A Look at the Fourth Commandment

Honor One's Father and Mother For anyone to effectively honor one’s father and mother, it involves much more than doing everything you’re told to do. Yes, fathers and mothers deserve respect from their children, as the Fourth Commandment states. However, children also deserve respect from their parents. Everyone in the family is expected to imitate Christ’s love, affection and kindness, as well as the spirit of service.

As Adults, How Do We Stack Up?

The demands of work, society and other outside influences can override the time that we should be spending with family. When we should be giving our time to our family, we are working late. Or, when we should opt for spending time with family, we opt instead for dinner out with friends. If we are choosing to place our family second to personal interests, then how can we expect our children to respect us in the manner we would like? It starts with us, as the adults.

How to Teach Children to Honor One’s Father and Mother

So how do we make it all happen? We start by creating an environment based upon fairness and understanding. And to do that, we must be present. Second, we need to find that balance between lax leadership and tyranny within the household and apply it consistently. Third, we must provide consistent discipline, where,

…formation in the proper use of freedom, self-control, and sense of responsibility rests in large part on the parent’s success in instilling discipline. 1

Children do not reach the age of reason until around age seven. So, to address the need for consistent discipline, again, we must be present. Lastly, we must make a valiant effort to raise our children in faith, where children learn to imitate Christ through acts of kindness, compassion and love in service to others.

How do they learn fairness, understanding, discipline and the Christian faith? By following our example. If we are present, provide balance in leadership, apply consistent discipline and teach the faith, our children will naturally honor one’s father and mother. Remember, it all starts with us – the adults! So, set the good example, and they will follow.


1 Armenio, Peter V. Our Moral Life in Christ: College Ed. Woodridge: Midwest Theological Forum. Print. 2009 p. 374.

This post also appears on Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, and Top Catholic Blogs

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