Should children obey their parents? Or, perhaps more to the point, should parents insist upon their children’s obedience? The culture around us seems perplexed, so focused on personal autonomy that in many families it seems clear that the children rule the roost. Many parents doubt their ability to direct their children and may even doubt their right to demand obedience.
Yet the Bible insists that children are to obey their parents and that parents are to enforce their children’s obedience. At one time or another just about every Christian parent has quoted this verse to their disobedient kids: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). This is about as straightforward a decree as you’ll find in the Bible. But as we ponder that verse and the two that follow—“‘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’”—, we quickly find there are three important reasons why children need to obey their parents. There are three important reasons why parents must insist that their children obey.
Children need to obey their parents because nature demands it. Children are to obey for the simplest of reasons: “this is right.” God has created human beings in such a way that his law is written on our hearts. There are certain truths we know simply because we are human, because we are created in God’s image. One of these truths is that children are to obey their parents. Every people of every time have known this and insisted upon it (even though today it seems that many people are actively suppressing this knowledge). So the first and most foundational reason children are to obey their parents is that this is just how it works, just how God intends it will work.
Children need to obey their parents because the law demands it. Children are also to obey because it is a particular requirement of God’s law, the ten commandments. This is a law that even has a great promise attached to it: “Honor your father and mother … that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” This commandment bridges the first four, which reflect our relationship to God, and the final five which reflect our relationship with others. Most scholars agree God placed it here because of the unique role parents play, a role in which they represent God to their children. To honor and obey parents is to honor and obey God. And those who give such honor and obedience to their parents open themselves to special blessings.
Children need to obey their parents because the gospel demands it. Best of all, children are to obey their parents “in the Lord.” Even children are to put their faith in Jesus and then, because of their personal relationship with him, to joyfully do all that brings glory to his name. The gospel assures our children they can joyfully obey their parents and the gospel gives them the motivation to actually do so. This is why one of the very first evidences of a child’s conversion is obedience to mom and dad. As Stott says, “Christian children learn to obey with gladness, ‘for this pleases the Lord’. They remember the loving submission which Jesus himself gave as a boy to his parents. Now this same Jesus is their Lord and Saviour, and the creator of the new order, so they are anxious to do what pleases him.”
Children are to obey, and parents are to insist upon obedience, for three very good reasons: Nature, law, and gospel. James Boice offers a crucial word for parents: “The obligation is not merely on the side of the child, who must obey, but also on the side of the parent, who must enforce the obedience. This is because the parent stands as God in relationship to the child. To teach the child to obey the parent is to teach the child to obey God. To allow the child to defy and disobey the parent is to teach the child to defy and disobey God with all the obvious consequences.” For, as Bryan Chapell says, “If we love our children too much to require them to do what is right, then we have not really loved them enough.”
Lately, I have been hearing a lot of stories about students being rude to their teachers. And then the other day in class I witnessed it happen: halfway through class the WiFi stopped working, and there was nothing my professor could do. However, instead of just sending us home, he wanted to use our time wisely, so he had us work on other things that did not require using the WiFi. Some students began making loud comments trying to get his attention about wanting to go home, and one even tried to yell across the room.
Throughout all of it, all I could think was why? I mean, yeah, it would have been nice to get out early, but he clearly was not going to, so what was the point? Teachers or professors, whatever you want to call them, are there to help us, and they deserve our respect. So here is a list of reasons you should respect your teacher.
1. They respect you.
“Treat others how you want to be treated," if you think your teacher is being rude maybe look at how you are treating him or her.
2. They are there to help you learn.
We would not make it very far without an education, and they are the people who provide us with one.
3. They care about you.
They want the best for you, and if something is going wrong they want to help you.
4. They can help you in the future.
Teachers want you to succeed and are more than willing to help.
5. They cannot control everything.
Some things are just out of our hands, and it is not fair to hold teachers responsible for things that go wrong.
6. They have to deal with a lot of shit.
Why make it more difficult? It is not cool, and most of the time the other students think you are annoying, not funny.
7. They decide your grade.
Okay, so this one is more of a joke, but it is true. Your teacher will be more willing to help you out or work with you if you respect them.
8. They are people too.
How would you feel if you were trying to help someone and got attitude in return?
9. They have been in your shoes.
At one point in their lives your teachers were students too, so they understand more than you think.
10. They are not out to get you.
Teachers are trying to to help you do better, they do not want to see you fail.
11. They give up A LOT for us.
Teachers are the hardest workers I know. They worked hard for their title and it is no secret that they do not make the big bucks.
This is just the beginning; there are so many more reasons why you should respect your teachers. It really is not a hard thing to show your teachers the respect they deserve. If you do have a problem or disagree with your teacher, just talk to him or her after class. Being respectful can make life easier for you and your teacher.