What Your Attitude Toward Your Parents Reveals
Helpful facts that young people want to know
WHAT kind of a person are you? What kind of a person do you want to become? One way in which you can tell is by examining your attitude toward your parents.
What does that have to do with it? Well, what you say and do toward your parents reveals what is in your mind and heart. That tells a lot about the kind of person you are right now. It is also a clear indication of the kind of person you are likely to become in the future. This is because behavior patterns that you develop in the family become a part of you.
Some young people develop a negative attitude toward nearly everything their parents require. They feel that their parents never understand them, are hopelessly old-fashioned and cannot offer useful guidance in this changing world. But this produces rebelliousness and it becomes a habit if not curbed. It will reflect itself in dealings with other people of all ages outside the family circle. It can also give a person serious trouble in his willingness to obey laws designed for the benefit of human society as a whole.
Yet, there are other youths who do not feel that way. They grow up to view their parents with respect. These young persons know why the world is in such trouble and what the future holds for them. So they are not pressured into conforming to the negative attitudes that others have toward their parents. They know the value of the guidance their parents give. Why? Because such young persons have been brought up by parents who have respect for the highest principles of human behavior there are—those found in the inspired written Word of man’s Creator, Jehovah God—and they have responded appreciatively to that training. (Eph. 6:4) Because of this training in the truths found in God’s Word, these youths appreciate their place in the family arrangement. So a good relationship exists in the home.
But what about young persons with parents who do not teach them Bible principles? Does this mean they do not have to give their parents respect and obedience? While it is true that parental guidance is bound to suffer as it gets away from God’s standards, yet, this does not diminish the need for these youths to develop the right attitude toward their parents. Why not? There are several reasons.
For instance, have you ever thought deeply about what your parents have done for you? Having never been on your own, you may not fully appreciate this. But stop and think: since your birth, your father and mother have cared for you daily. They have fed you, provided clothing, a home to live in and have seen to your education.
If you had to hire a person to do what your parents have done for you since your birth, it would cost you a small fortune. Your parents, then, deserve respect for all that. Later, if you marry and become a parent, you will more fully appreciate just how much your parents did for you. But why not show your appreciation now? Pay back some of the love you owe your parents by giving them respect and obedience. Then you will show that you are developing into a mature person, one who has good sense, one who values those who do him good.
This is not to say that your parents are perfect. Of course they make mistakes. But, then, so do you. Likely you make many more, since you do not have their experience in life. Are you intolerant of your parents’ mistakes, yet demand that they be tolerant of yours? To be consistent, you must learn to overlook mistakes your parents make, just as they have to overlook many that you make. And since they have the far heavier responsibility, it is understandable that they may fall short sometimes.—Ps. 130:3; Jas. 2:13.
However, in some cases what you view as a parental mistake may simply be a view that differs from yours. When this is so, and your parents have taken a definite stand on the matter at issue, what should you do?
You need to keep in mind that the position of your parents is not the same as yours. A parent represents someone higher than you in God’s arrangement of things. God has given your parents authority and responsibility that you do not as yet have. Hence, final decisions in matters affecting you belong to your parents. That is why God’s Word counsels: “You children, be obedient to your parents in everything, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord.” (Col. 3:20) Of course, this means obedience to everything your parents require that does not violate God’s laws.
You see, there has to be order in human society. Without order, confusion, even anarchy, results. So, too, there has to be order in the family circle. And there God has assigned the father as the head, with the mother cooperating closely. Both parents have been appointed as supervisors of their children. So when your parents place certain requirements on you, such as the time you must be indoors in the evening, whom you can associate with, the way you groom yourself, and so forth, and you obey them, then you are respecting God’s arrangement. When you disobey your parents, you are disrespecting the arrangement of God. That means clashing head on with God! And you know who will be the loser there. Thus, how you respond to the direction of your parents reflects how you feel about the One who is higher than they are, Jehovah God.
That is why God’s Word says: “The eye that holds a father in derision and that despises obedience to a mother—the ravens of the torrent valley will pick it out and the sons of the eagle will eat it up.” (Prov. 30:17) Yes, the wrong attitude toward parents will cost youths their lives!
Someday, when you are of legal age and perhaps form a family of your own, would you not want your children to give you respect and obedience? But if you have not learned how to do that with your own parents, it is not likely that you will train your children very successfully in giving such respect. You reap what you sow, says the Bible. Learn how to cope with the subordinate position you are in now, and that will help you to cope with the greater responsibilities of adulthood, and perhaps parenthood, later on.
Also, if you develop a negative attitude toward your parents, it can show up in other things you do later. For instance, if you work for an employer, will you always resent his authority over you? When he gives you something to do, will you find it difficult to comply? Will you constantly complain about your work? What about your attitude toward those with whom you may work? You may find yourself constantly complaining about them, never commending them for the good things they may do for you. Or if you go to school to learn a trade, or are being trained on the job, you may begin to feel after a few weeks that you know more than your instructor. All these attitudes may cause you much grief later on in life. But they can be the fruitage of having developed the wrong attitude toward your parents.
Hence, accept the reality of family life and your position in it. Appreciate that it is God’s way, and that his way is the very best.
But if you fail to accept your responsibilities as a minor in the family, then you are asking for trouble. Not only will it affect your relationship with your parents and others, as well as your later life; far more importantly, it will impair your standing with God. And he is the one who determines whether you will live forever in his new order, or pass out of existence when this wicked system of things is soon destroyed.—Prov. 3:1, 2.