Thursday, June 23, 2011

Honor to Whom Honor is Due

Over the years I've heard complaints from several men that they are not honored on Fathers Day like women are honored on Mother's Day. A secular man complained that stores don't print fliers that are 100% intended as gifts or discounted items for fathers, that they always include several pages of women's and children's items. But they print 100% female-interest ads for Mother's Day, with not a single item that a man would want to buy for himself. The man also complained that his son never honored him on Fathers day like he honored his mother on Mother's Day. A church-going man complained that the sermons on Fathers Day never praise dads and say how wonderful they are, but instead they are sermons telling dads how to be better dads and husbands. Yet, just a few weeks earlier the same preachers, praised mothers without a hint of suggestion on what mothers could do better. Instead, the Mother's Day sermon also included exhortations to husbands to be more loving and honoring.

The men are right: stores do include female-interest items in their sales fliers for Fathers Day, and omit male-interest items for their Mother's Day sales fliers. And preachers do brag up moms and exhort dads. Children do tend to be closer to their moms than they are to their dads, and honor moms more than dads.

This isn't always the case, though. When dads/husbands give selflessly of themselves, when they don't brag themselves up, they tend to be honored by their wives and children. Households where there is reason to quote the proverb “Man works from sun to sun, but woman's work is never done,” are households where the husband/father is less likely to be honored on Fathers Day. And households where husband/father takes authority over his wife, makes decisions for her rather than with her, are households where the man is less likely to be honored.

Perhaps surprisingly, this reaction of mothers and children is biblical. Jesus, himself, said it in Matthew 23:12
“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
Dads/husbands who declare their word is law, are exalting themselves. When they come home from work and expect to be served, they are exalting themselves. When they declare their authority is a God-given role, they are exalting themselves, making themselves superior and their wives inferior.

Jesus said, “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” On Mother's Day, children, pastors, and businesses are proclaiming that it is their mother who served them. It is their mother who connected with them and established a closer relationship. It is usually their mother who cared for them when they were sick and listened when they needed someone to care, who kept working after Dad sat down to watch TV, read the newspaper, or went to bed. No amount of “Me Tarzan” posturing makes anyone great. Instead, it is genuine caring and selfless serving that makes a person the greatest among us.

If men want to be honored, they need to stop thumping their own chests, and start genuinely caring about their wives and children. And after they've started caring, they need to keep on caring and cherishing and serving, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. And if they are angry because they haven't been honored after 2 days or a month of serving, they need to admit their motivation was not based on love, but was based on self-gratification and self-adulation, which is hard for others to miss because the stench is so strong. Instead of focusing on the error of those who aren't honoring them enough, they need to refocus on getting their hearts right, to genuinely loving their wives and children, to serve and benefit their wives and children instead of themselves.

After they have genuinely humbled themselves without tooting their horn, and served because of having the best interests of others in mind, then they will be exalted. Jesus said so. But by that time it won't matter, because they aren't doing it for praise; they are doing it because of God-like love.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.


  1. Waneta,

    This article goes right along with what you are saying: Moonshine or the Kids?.

    Personally, I think mothers naturally have a strong maternal instinct to nourish and cherish our children (even animal mothers). (Yes, there is the occasional shocking human example of a woman going "against nature", but it's the exception and shocks us).

    But a male has to make a conscious decision of the will to nourish and cherish another human being as his own body. Perhaps this is why husbands are singled out for this instruction in Eph 5?

    Perhaps, instead of being jealous, fathers could look at mothers and learn from them? Perhaps mothering reflects some aspects of the image of God which are not natural to males?

    Paul the apostle said "But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us." 1 Thes 2:7-8 (NKJV)

  2. So well said, Waneta!!!!

    My dad was the best. As a preacher who lived what he preached, he would never hesitate to start supper when Mother was late getting in from her school teaching.

    I was blessed with 2 caring parents. They BOTH worked hard to set an example and enforce with both discipline and love that us 4 children take care of our rooms and help with household chores.

    Neither would say, "Wait 'til your father/mother gets home for your spanking. Nor would they expect the other to provide all the love after the corrections needed.

    I was blessed with a model father who used Jesus as his example every day of his life. Instead of looking to mother for guidance, he just followed Christ as best he could!

  3. My Dad kind-a finked-out, he died when I was five BUT that, and the adult speculations about God's work, sure as cat farts set me wee (wee then) arse off on quite an adventure.

  4. It seems like SO many men these days (maybe even more than not) act like big children. I am in a 10 year abusive marriage with a "big kid" who now doesn't even work (has been voluntarily unemployed for 4 years) but goes to school, using his student aid funds as his "mad money" to spend on his hobbies while refusing to pay his own bills! Then he blames ME for his credit being bad! His favorite words are "I ain't cooking!" when I get home from work. He does not lift a finger in the house and gets upset when someone asks him to. His life revolves around his hobbies and having a swell time. He yells at me and our children and cuts us down then gets upset when we are offended. I am very, very close to divorce as I do not love this man anymore (who would?). He's not a believer and frankly, I don't want to marry again so I'm not overly concerned about the admonition against "causing your wife to commit adultery." I want to live in peace and serve God, raising my kids in a home where there is love, security and not anger all the time. Why would I bring in another "big kid" who doesn't even have the natural affection of a bio father? What is wrong with men these days? I know at least 2 other women who are in the same situation as me.