“But,” Chaim says, in a quieter voice, “he’s a very holy man.”
I have never heard a teenaged boy say such a thing about his father, and it keeps me quiet, wondering, for the rest of the while we walk together.”
– Natalie Morrill, The Ghost Keeper
This passage I read today in a novel reminded me of a theme of which I am fond: respect for parents.
And this reminds me of this part of my “What Millennials Want” talk in which I said:
It’s rare for people my age to speak about their families, so I was surprised, on a summer program with 20 Christian young adults, how many of them spoke about their parents while briefly introducing themselves. Between mentioning their universities, work experience, and achievements, they also said things like, ‘Growing up, my dad went for long walks with me.’ ‘My mom always read to us before we went to bed.’
I am often struck and edified by persons who speak well of their parents, especially while the parents are still alive. Everyone knows that one of the ten commandments is to honour your parents, but I often find it remarkable when people speak well of their parents because it’s not that common. But surely honour and dignity and reverence have something to do with “speaking well of”. Even when parents have abused their authority, shirked their responsibility, or fallen short in serious ways, we can probably still speak well of these (co-)authors of our existence with some degree of affection. Often, though, if we really reflect, we can probably find some way to utter more profound words of admiration and reverence for our parents, like Chaim did. And this grateful admiration not only has the power to transform us, but to transform others who hear it as well.