Honoring parents at any age can be hard or easy as pie, depending on one’s perspective. As a caregiver for my parents in their late 80s, I am the filling between 2 flaky crusts: the “greatest” post-war generation and the millennial generation, of which my teen sons are a part. I try to make the best of both worlds by giving honor to all. It is the right thing to do, and I feel good doing it.
Recently my dad became anxious during a lengthy errand. I promised him Bakers Square raspberry pie, his favorite, and he relaxed. Within an hour we were served fresh slices and shared good memories of the past Poppin’ Fresh pie we used to enjoy in Wisconsin–warm with ice cream melting on top. Our connection was sweet in more ways than one. A week later after another difficult errand, I bought my parents a whole pie to take home.
Honor from my heart boxed up, received with gladness.
The following 5 sure-fire ways to honor my elderly parents have helped me stay sane, and, well, to feel honorable. In the midst of caregiving or not, they may help your relationship, too. Teens, please take note.
5 Sure-fire Ways to Honor Parents
1. Respect their age, their past and present limitations, their contribution to society, their value and worth as a family member, and as a human being.
2. Share your time, energy, and stories with a smile and a twinkle in your eye. Share your stuff: pies, photos, nail polish, puppy, popcorn.
3. Discern their needs and interests: What’s their favorite pie? What don’t they like? Determine any necessary steps for medical care and safety.
4. Love them in the action sense with empathy, patience, sacrificial care, support, encouragement, gentle touch, and thoughtful gifts.
5. Appreciate them, choosing to focus on the good, (there has got to be some–i.e. Darth Vader and Luke) not dwelling on the bad.
Experience teaches me that honor is many things: an action verb, a choice, a moral perspective, and a biblical commandment with a promise. But most of all, honor comes from the heart. If all generations learn honor and give it generously–our diverse society can be a sweet one.