What Happened? - Nafkot Gebeyehu

When we were little, our fathers seemed as heroes who were all-powerful and all-knowing. Our mothers were like these women totally made of love and understanding. We craved to hear their voices and loved to eat whatever they prepared for us. Childhood was that safe and care free place sheltered by parents. Being the little kids we were, we never opposed their authority. Rather, we embraced it.

Growing up, we started to beg for answers. Why is my mother this way? Why can’t my father be like that? Why am I always obligated to obey them and do whatever they ask of me? What will happen if I stopped doing that? Mothers were no longer the sweet women we adore; they appeared to be control freaks obsessed with manipulating our moves. Fathers appeared to be more demanding than ever pressing our buttons and holding our backs against the wall. Home was no longer a place where we felt free to run around at; it started to feel like a place filled with judgment and misunderstanding. Our parents were no longer our super heroes; they became our arch enemies. My question, what happened? 

The following story could help explain that.

This is a story of one girl. She was raised in a Christian home, and her parents gave her nothing but love. They showed her the truth. The truth about God and His love for all. Her childhood was a great memory; mom taking care of her and treating her like the apple of her eye. Dad constantly providing for her needs and giving her his all. Then something happened. She grew up. She became a “teenager”. She started to demand more; at times, more than what she should. She started spending longer hours with friends and her time for parents narrowed. 

Her friends became her priority. Whatever they said became law to her. She started to hate her home; she went out early in the morning and come back late at night. Consequently, her parents and she started drifting apart. The more distant they became, the closer she got to things she was raised to stay away from. She stopped asking permission. She got used to many things. Tradition she got from her parents became something lame and awkward. 

Her parents tried to fix her - not that she was broken. But was rushing herself in that direction; where many would get lost. Their advice didn’t seem convincing. She told herself, “They are over thinking, they are being “parents”, they don’t know me, they don’t get me and they think I’m something I’m not.” She had surrounded herself with plenty of excuses to not accept their genuine worry. Besides, almost everyone she knew was going through the ‘oh, I hate my parents!’ phase. So, if she run out of excuses, it was just a matter of seconds before someone would come along agitated about their parent-child crisis. 

Time passed. The more her parents tried to reason with her, the more defensive she became. The more defensive she became, the stronger the words became. The stronger the words became, hearts started getting broken. The more hearts got broken, the easier it became to ignore the problems and simply agree to disagree. It starts out slow, but it’s a chain reaction that could elevate easily.

Let’s pause for a bit. I am sure that this is a story we all can relate to. At some point, we all lose that ability to see eye to eye with our parents and everything they say sounds either offensive, manipulative or simply annoying. 

I know there are some kids with a really smooth relationship with their parents. On the other hand, there are some parents who are very dysfunctional, unreasonable and just impossible to communicate and deal with. I am talking about the majority of us who lie in between these two contrasts when I say, being young and having parents who really care enough to bug us in everything we do can get very tough at times.   

There is one story that comes to my mind when I think about obeying parents. In this case, a Father and His Son. The Father had a goal in mind. To accomplish it, He sent His Son on a very challenging mission. He told Him, “Go, suffer and die on a cross like a criminal so I can save and show my love to people.” He told Him to leave his royalty and kingship, be born as man, in a barn. I know, you are probably thinking, ‘but Jesus is JESUS, a God! He is nothing like me.’ But no, He was a child. A son. He had a Father; He obeyed and respected Him. And we often forget, when Jesus was born as man, He really became man. He felt each pain and hurt, just like us. When He reached His darkest moment and was scared, He prayed to His father. Again, just like us. The difference was that His prayer was so that His father’s will would be done – not His own.  

I believe there are some serious obedience lessons to be learned from Jesus! He humbly resigned His heavenly position, not only to show us His love but also His obedience. Regardless the stormy emotions and ideas that seem to be smart and catchy, we need to obey our parents. 

Obedience ranges from saying yes to understanding that whatever our parents tell us to do now will benefit us in the long run, if not now.  It’s a very simple yet a hard way to show our love to them. Because, honestly, if it doesn’t come to us naturally, well they earned it! Raising us, putting up with everything we put them through (I am sure we all have something to say) is not easy. My advice: no matter what we are going through with our parents, obeying them is the easiest, smartest and Christian way to handle our relationship. For all we know, they won’t be here for too long, and soon, we will be regretting all the moments we spent withholding our obedience

Ephesians 6 “children obey your parents in the lord, for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on earth. And ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the lord!”