“Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise)…” – Ephesians 6:2
Having watched both my mother and father exchange their earthly homes for their heavenly home, I am even more keenly aware of this truth: the toughest stage of life is parenting our parents. It’s a role-reversal both parent and child would rather avoid. But the Bible clearly teaches us to honor our parents, and that means caring for them when they are old. Let me suggest a few thoughts:
- Make the Time. The greatest gift you can give your aging parents is time. So, if physical distance is great, take time to call or write on a regular basis.
- Be Prayerful and Sensitive. When parents can no longer care for themselves or their home, be sensitive when helping them think about where they will live – whether in their own home with the aid of healthcare workers, a retirement center, a nursing home, or even with you.
- Be motivated by LOVE, not guilt. As you face these tough decisions, be motivated by love, not guilt. Do what they most need, not what you want most. You should always allow them as much dignity as is possible in making decisions with and for them on their behalf.
Honoring our parents sometimes means parenting our parents. Remember, we reap what we sow. One day we hope that our children will have learned from us how to care for us when we are old.