Do you honour your parents?

Do you honour your parents?

 

Our parents gave us life. They fed us, nurtured us and educated us. They shared their homes and income with us for many years, enduring sleepless nights, whining, worry and rebellion.

Surely honouring and respecting them should come naturally to us? And yet in many places in the Bible we have to be reminded to do just that. See Exodus 20:12, Leviticus 19:3, Deuteronomy 5:16, Matthew 15:4, Matthew 19:19, Mark 10:19, Ephesians 6:2, 1 Timothy 5:4… the list could go on!

The sad truth is that it is easy to be critical and disrespectful in our thoughts, words and attitude toward our parents. Children are in the unique position of seeing their parents’ flaws in a way that no one else can. Not only do children observe their parents for many years. But they see their mothers and fathers when they are tested to the limits of their patience and endurance, and find out what they look like when they blow!

Already my young children have seen things in me that I’d prefer no one knew about. They’ve watched me get annoyed at them for almost no reason at all (something I always swore I’d never do before I became a mum). They’ve seen me shout in anger. Say things about others I shouldn’t have. I could go on but I think I’ll stop there…

All parents, at some point, have wronged their children – or done wrong in front of them. We are all sinners. We all do bad things and make mistakes, especially when we’re tired and stretched.

It’s not difficult for anyone to find ammo to speak ill of their parents, or make a joke about them.

Have you ever noticed however that some people have this incredible respect for their parents? When they speak about them you think “wow, he/she had a good dad/mum”.

I’ve come to think that when someone speaks like this, as much as it is about their parents, it is a demonstration of their own character.

There is a story in the Old Testament where Noah, a father, got drunk and fell asleep naked and exposed in his tent. His son, Ham, finds him. Instead of covering him up and keeping it to himself, he straight away tells his brothers, further humiliating his father. The other two brothers, Shem and Japheth, make every effort to cover their father without looking at his nakedness, and put him to bed.

When the father awakes he is furious. He curses Canaan, the son of Ham, and blesses Shem and Japheth, who had been careful to keep his humiliation hidden.

Honouring our parents is something we are called to do however well or badly they have behaved. Noah made a mistake and humiliated himself, but, regardless, Ham should have shown him respect and tried to keep his sin hidden. Honouring our parents is not about the character of our parents – it is about us and our attitude.

We ought to be very careful what we say to others about our parents. And not just when we speak to strangers and friends. Ham spoke about his father’s nakedness to his siblings and was cursed as a result. 

There may be times where telling others about the flaws of our parents is necessary, but the attitude in which it is said should be carefully monitored.

Sadly, I am guilty of having dishonoured my mum and dad both as a child and an adult (sorry mum and dad if you’re reading this!). I have had to ask God to forgive and change me, set a guard over my lips, and restrict me from speaking unwholesome words.

Most parents want their children to respect them, both as infants, and when they grow into adulthood. Often I remind my own children to speak respectfully to (and about) their father and myself.

But, of course, the best way to lead is by example. I can teach them what I like, but if they overhear me speaking badly about their grandparents, most likely, that is what they will learn to do.

Following Father’s Day let’s commit – or re-commit – to honouring our parents, regardless of what they were like when we were growing up; and hope that our children will be merciful enough to do the same!

Accounting
A slight variation to the usual craft or recipe. As an acknowledgement of my Dad’s inspired parenting, I wanted to share something he taught me as a child. It has been so useful when managing our household finances.

When growing up I had to submit monthly accounts before getting my allowance for the next month. As a teenager, it embarrassed me – a friend once thought he treated the family like a business. But now I couldn’t be more grateful!

He taught me to live on a budget.

When my husband and I first got married we made the decision to try for children right away. We’d come across the scripture “like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of ones youth” (Psalm 127:4), and, well, you’ll never be as young as you are right now, right?

But at the time we were both still students, studying part time. My husband had a year of full-time study left after our first baby was born and only a small grant to support us.

God provided for us and I received a good maternity package from where I was working, but money was still tight. We had to live on a fairly rigid budget.

Having four children, homeschooling and living off one wage means that even though our income has increased, we still have to live on a fairly strict budget.

To do so, just like when I was a teenager, I keep monthly accounts of all our income and expenses. I split up the expenses into different groups; bills, groceries, travel, going out, home improvements, cash etc.

It only takes about an hour each month by copying our online statements and placing each expense in the right place.

That way we can see where most our money goes and decide where we can and should cut down on each month, if we want to save.

There are apps you can use like Money Dashboard which will do the hard work of categorising your expenses. They will even accumulate information from all your accounts and credit cards, but it comes at the cost of sharing your financial data.

Personally I like to sift through myself. That way you keep your privacy and can spot any dodgy charges on your account quickly. Plus I can group things exactly as I’d like.

I’ve attached an example Excel spread sheet of how we do our accounts. There are formulas at the end of each column to calculate totals.

I’m not sure if it will actually be of interest to anyone, so I won’t go through all the details of how we use it, in case no one cares!

But if you’d like more information, email me at rebecca@spoonsandcrayons.com and I’d be happy to offer any help I can. Alternatively ask questions in the comments below. 

Happy accounting!

accounting resource

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