The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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     Two weeks ago, the focus of “Daniel’s Den” was honoring parents by making them a Priority while treating them with Courtesy, Dignity, and Integrity. Last week, the focus of this article was reversed to encourage aging parents not only to offer Affirmation, Communication, and Cooperation to their adult children who desire to honor them, but also to encourage elderly parents to make Preparation through a Last Will and Testament, an Advance Health Care Directive, and a Durable Power of Attorney.

     Continuing the focus on honor among family members within the context of caring for elderly parents, my article this week completes the “trilogy” by encouraging adult children to honor each other as they strive to honor their parents.  The apostle Paul presented these instructions to young Timothy:


Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger

 men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters…give proper

recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren,

these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family

and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God” (1 Timothy 5:1-4).


     In order for adult children to put religion into practice and give proper recognition to parents and other elderly individuals who are really in need, may I suggest first that children Confer. Simply put, children must talk to each other. Even as communication between elderly parents and adult children is needed, the children must communicate with each other. Not only does conferring together help brothers and sisters to sing from the same sheet of music, but conferring together is also a key indicator of the existence of respect and honor among siblings.

     Adult children would do well to Defer to their siblings when necessary and appropriate. For instance, one sibling may have specialized training or expertise in a certain area related to parental care while another sibling has experience in another area(s). Although conferring with siblings is important for honoring parents with a collaborative approach, deferring to a sibling who has training or experience in specific areas can be the most efficient and effective means for navigating “next steps” with respect to decision making.  

     Honoring parents while working together with siblings may result in opportunities to Refer a question or situation to trained professionals. Adult children may need to be reminded that love, care, and honor toward their parents may necessitate seeking the advice and counsel of doctors, lawyers, therapists, social workers, and other skilled professionals. While children may know and love their parents better than anyone, providing for and honoring parents may mean allowing others to be teammates and play a role that children may not be equipped to play.

     Lastly, may I encourage adult children to Concur. I recognize that independent-minded adult children who think critically and analytically may have difficulty coming to a consensus on many issues. Where elderly parents are concerned, however, agreement at some level will generally be in the best interest of everyone and will go a long way toward honoring parents and each other. 

     Perhaps in some unique way, putting “religion into practice by caring for their own family” involves adult children conferring together, deferring to one another, referring matters to professionals, and ultimately concurring with each other. I am confident that doing so “is pleasing to God”  and brings honor full circle.