High hopes and idealistic goals are a part of every young family. New moms and dads want to have a family that functions as a team and provides friendships for each other. An interesting transition takes place in many parents, however, as their families grow and mature. They give up their positive vision in exchange for basic survival skills. Why is it that eager, hopeful parents turn into frustrated, disillusioned parents in just a few years? Regrettably, even the best parenting tips won’t guarantee that children will make right choices. Each child is unique. Still some families do better than others, leading us to conclude that there are some secrets or principles that do work.
Although parents can’t ultimately determine the outcome of their children, they do have a tremendous influence on them. Over the years in our own families, as well in our counseling and teaching of others, we’ve found honor to be an amazing principle with many ramifications for family life. Honor doesn’t just address behavior. It involves the heart. We’ve discovered that honor is an excellent and refreshing way to motivate children, enhance family life, and bring closeness to relationships. For every form of selfishness in a family there’s an honor-based solution. It’s putting someone else’s needs above your own. Parents may think that the negative behavior they see in their children is simply a stage they’ll grow out of. Unfortunately, instead of growing out of bad patterns, children actually grow into them. If not counteracted, selfish habits will simply become more entrenched. When self-centeredness increases, it’s no wonder that certain behaviors like yelling, arguing, teasing, defiance, bad attitudes, bickering, and anger become a lifestyle. Unchecked selfishness creates multiple problems, resulting in tension and distance in relationships.
Honor changes the way people think, the way we act, and the way we treat others.
Here’s how to think about honor:
1.) Treating people as special
2.) Doing more than what’s expected
3.) Having a good attitude
When we conduct honor workshops, we like to invite someone up to receive a gift. We tell our audience, “Showing honor is like giving a gift, and you can tell that a person appreciates the gift by the facial expression. The same is true when we honor others. People appreciate it, and you can see it on their faces.”
At this point in the workshop we give a gift to our volunteer and everyone watches that person open it. To the surprise of our guest, the gift is a small plastic bag full of dirt. “Many times we treat each other in dishonoring ways, and it’s like giving dirt to them.“ Next we pull out a real gift: inside this wrapping paper, the volunteer finds two candy bars, one to keep and one to give away to show honor to someone else.
You can use this activity in your family to illustrate a valuable lesson about relationships. We all wish we could receive a gift, but instead we sometimes receive hurtful words. It’s like receiving dirt. Think about the way you treat one another. Consider honor in your relationships.