“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 5:16). This same verse (more or less) appears in both Deuteronomy and Exodus. It’s one of the ten commandments passed down to Moses, and it’s one of the most important lessons we can learn as children of God. Not only to honor our human parents, but also our divine parentage.
When I count the blessings in my life, one of the first things I always consider is the people who have helped shape me. By that measure, yesterday was an apt day to consider my good fortune, and to pontificate on how lucky I am to have a loving, supportive mother.
I love and respect my father, but it is also true that he and I don’t always see eye-to-eye. We have very different political leans, and his worldview is consummate with someone that was born in the 1950s and raised in the Midwest. We get along fine, as long as we leave some topics untouched. It doesn’t even matter who is right or wrong within those realms, only that we are very different.
My mother on the other hand, while born and raised in that same time and place, sees the world very differently. I would say that she sees the world like me, but of course that is ridiculous. I see the world like her. I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of our respective worldviews, but will only say that it is rare indeed when we disagree on a core value.
I will also say that I prefer this verse in Proverbs to the aforementioned verse in Exodus. “My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck” (Proverbs 6:20-21).
Two people of this planet had the greatest effect on my shaping as a person. One, who I’ve written about before, was my Papa. He taught me patience, kindness, gentleness, resourcefulness, and imagination.
My mother taught me nearly everything else, and almost exclusively by example. That includes dedication, love, thoughtfulness, endurance, cleverness, and wit. She encouraged me to be artistic, to be lively, and to be funny. She showed me how to never take things too seriously, unless they were serious things. She had tremendous influence on my decision-making process and skills.
Her lessons truly are bound to my heart, and I carry them with me always. In fact, they are inseparable from myself, because they comprise me. Those lessons are inextricable from my person.
That is the lesson I want to carry in my mind this week, as it pertains to my Almighty Father. What I need to do in order to truly be His child is not just layer the lessons of God on top of what I already know. Instead, I need to find a path to letting those lessons change me in such a way that He comprises me, just as the lessons of my mother make up who I am.