Honor thy father and thy mother
Question: Do children have the duty and obligation to take care of their parents in their old age? I ask this because of the fourth commandment in the Bible, “Honor your father and your mother.”
Asked at “Ask a Friend, Ask Efren” free service through www.personalfinance.ph, Facebook, and SMS.
Answer: As of this writing, we had just celebrated Mother’s Day. In a month, we will be celebrating Father’s Day.
Briefly, the ancient Greeks were probably the first to celebrate Mother’s Day as their spring festival honored Rhea, the mother of all Greek gods.
The celebration did not catch on.
Then, in medieval Britain, servants were given the fourth Sunday of Lent to go home and spend the day with their mothers.
The practice, which eventually faded, was called Mothering Sunday.
But it was through the early 1900s efforts of American Anna Jarvis, who conceived Mother’s Day as a day for honoring mothers, that the modern-day Mother’s Day was born.
In 1910, another American, Sonora Smart Dodd drummed up support for establishing the equivalent of Mother’s Day for male parents.
While the modern-day celebration of Father’s and Mother’s Day was born out of the efforts and eventual practice of Americans, the spirit of the celebration is truly as old as human history itself. In fact, as you mentioned, the spirit of honoring parents was engraved in stone as the fourth of the Ten Commandments.
But does honoring parents equate to supporting them financially, especially in their retirement years?
Love does not count the cost. If it is required, then children will support their parents financially even in their twilight years. After all, giving honor is nothing more than showing love for another.
On the other hand, if parents do love their children, they will not rely on their children for their retirement package.
It is, therefore, the duty of the parents alone to prepare for their own retirement from health to wealth.
To facilitate this, parents are also under no obligation to support their children after the latter have turned into able-bodied adults
To push it further, parents are not required by law or by faith to leave inheritance.
Proverbs 13:22 says that, “The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the just.” It did not say that one will be good if he leaves inheritance.
Going back to your question, if you love your parents, you will honor them and not count the cost. But as I have shown, it is a two-way street.
To avoid strains in the relationship, parents should let their children fly on their own once parents have completed their obligation of arming their children with the best education they can afford and then work on sustaining themselves for the rest of their lives.
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