Honoring the Honorable and Dishonorable Parents

commandments
commandments

The commandment to "Honor thy father and mother" is easy and a joy to do when you have loving and honorable parents that you take pride in. However, what about when your parent(s) lack honor? They may have been abusive, negligent, violent, criminal, etc? I don't believe in feigning honor for the dishonorable, yet I believe in keeping the commandments—all of them, not just the ones I like and don't. So I've wrestled with this one, as have many of my clients, for  years. For myself, I've come up with this simple solution that not only works for me and my clients but I also believe is true. What is it that all parents want for their kids? For their children to do better than they did. Thus the best way for a child to honor a dishonorable parent is to do better than they did. I see this every day. I work with people who have been abused by their parent and yet they themselves break that chain and do not abuse their own children. They have done better than their parents. In so doing, they honor them by doing better than they. They honor their parent's name by bringing honor back to that name. My own father, who took so much family pride in the Sherman name has sullied and dishonored it by breaking his vows, his word, of fidelity and protection. You can not break your word and have honor. Yet, I have brought honor back to the Sherman name by showing my wife and my children that my vows and my words mean what they say. I don't talk much about family honor because I don't need to. It's just simply lived. My children know they can trust me. They know I'm there for them. All of this brings honor to me, to my family and to our name. And, yes, it even brings honor to my father.