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The Forgotten Commandment

by Dennis Rainey

"Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12)—an easy commandment for some, but a heart-wrenching challenge for others.

No matter where you stand in your relationship with your parents, The Forgotten Commandment can help you take necessary steps to bring about the peace and respect that both you and your parents want. Following this important commandment is easier than you may think. And more rewarding.

Discover the significance that your own heartfelt words, delivered in the form of a personal tribute, can bring to your parents. Thousands of sons and daughters have taken this step. Strong families have been made stronger. Estranged family members have been reconciled. Aging parents who thought themselves irrelevant have been reestablished as wise leaders for the generations.

Everyone is better off when this once-forgotten commandment is obeyed.

"Writing is not my gift, but with the help of your book and information on your website, I was able to write a tribute."
—Debbi, who shared a tribute to her father at his 80th birthday celebration
"If you will just begin writing, it will come easily. I worked on the letter each day for a week. I began looking for things that I could tell Daddy that I appreciated about him, and surprisingly my list grew. As it did, the resentment that I had began to lift from my shoulders."
—Becky, who finally wrote a tribute that had been on her heart for a year. The week after sharing reading her tribute, her father was diagnosed with acute leukemia and given only weeks to live.
"I read the tribute to [my dad]. We all blubbered, and he and I met at the middle of the table for my first big hug from him that I can ever remember. HUGE!"
Mike, on sharing his tribute on Father's Day to his father who hadn't been to his home in 11 years
"I have to thank you for the gentle push to write the tribute. It has helped—but not cured—the relationship between my father and me. We speak about once a month now, which is far better than not speaking for five years."
Eric, who has since challenged four close friends to write tributes to their parents

Your parents don’t have to be perfect to be honored

See how Betty Ann chose to bring light to the positive parts of her childhood:

Mother, I know our family was not perfect. But I want to take this opportunity to concentrate on the good.  One of the most important things I learned from you was how to ask for forgiveness. I can remember how you always came back to tell me you were sorry and ask me to forgive you.  Your example has helped me do the same with my children, husband, and others.

Or your tribute may be a chance to recount warm memories from the years together:

Well, Dad, I remember hearing the vibration of your car driving up in the afternoons. It was one of the most exciting moments of my day, and I’d run out to meet you. You’d gather me up in your arms and give me a hug. And a little later, you’d pull me up into your lap in your easy chair. You’d sit and hold me as you’d ask about my day and tell me about yours. And lots of times you’d read the Bible to me and teach me a truth about God.

Whatever God prompts in you regarding your tribute, you can be certain that He expects us to follow His commandment to honor our fathers and mothers, while we still have them with us.  For more encouragement on this, check out Dennis Rainey’s book The Forgotten Commandment and listen to his recent FamilyLife Today® broadcasts.

About FamilyLife

FamilyLife® is a donor-supported, nonprofit organization headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, whose mission is to develop godly marriages and families who change the world one home at a time.