Listen to me. LISTEN to me. LISTEN TO ME! There is nothing more frustrating when you are trying to get your children to do something and they tune you out. There are strategies that parents use to facilitate their selective hearing.
"Turn off the TV and look at me"
"Take off the ear phones and listen to me"
"Look me in the eyes, do you understand what I am saying to you."
We know that listening, hearing, and understanding comes only when all of a child's senses are focused on the conversation. Listening and understanding is the basis for obedience.
The Apostle told the children of the Ephesian church that they were to do two things: obey and honor.
The word obey is from the same root word as submit used previously in regard to wives and husbands. The difference is that wives submit by willingly placing themselves under the influence of their husbands, while children listen with the intent to obey.
It takes us back to Proverbs where the writer instructs the reader to listen to wisdom, heed her words, follow her instruction and it will be well with you. In the same way children are to listen to the wisdom of their parents and to submit to their experience so that it will be well with them.
Children are by nature selfish creatures. Oh, they do cute things, they snuggle, they kiss, and they can smile to melt the heart of any parent. But leave the room and they will devise ways to get around any prohibition, been there/done that. Therefore, parents are constantly teaching their children to listen and obey using different techniques and strategies so that the child will grow up and be godly. It is the child's responsibility, then, to obey. Life is so much better when both parties participate willingly.
The second thing children are to do is to honor their parents. The word is an action word that means, to manifest consideration towards, to treat favorably, to visit with marks of favor. Children can't honor their parents and not show that honor with tangible action.
My children have told me that I should treat them well because they will be picking out my nursing home. It's all in fun, but for some the sentiment is true. Their children hold animosity in their hearts and can't wait to unload them.
Honor, however, choses to hold the parent in high regard whether they deserve it or not. The passage doesn't say that when parents act honorably then treat them with honor. Honor is an act of selfless love.
Honor speaks well
When a child listens, obeys, and honors there is a promise, life will go well and they will live long in the land. This is an Old Testament promise to Israel. Culturally father's could kill disobedient children, obedience meant long life. But it also meant that God would preserve them in the land. Obedience meant following after their parents faith and obeying the law. These actions brought God's favor and he would allow them to stay in the land. Otherwise he would discipline them by sending them into captivity.
Today, when there is harmony in the home, both children and parents are healthier, emotionally and physically. There is less worry and stress which leads to health issues. When children are obedient life goes smoother.
The word children applies to anyone of descent who still lives with their parents. So, whether you are four or forty if you are still living off your parents then you are to listen and obey.
I have three boys who honor me. They haven't always listened and obeyed, but the pattern of their lives exhibited the characteristics of obedience and honor. I have no greater joy then to know that they follow the Lord and have families of their own. I enjoy spending time with them and marvel at what God has done in their lives.
The only greater joy is to see them have children of their own. Well, because what goes around comes around. I'm just saying.
Ephesians 6:1,2 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”