Parents Rule -

This is a family service talk by Malcolm Peters from the Riverside Church service on 22nd March 2009.

Click here to read the bible passage. Click here to use larger text.

[Daisy appears during song looking downcast]   

Me:     O Hello Daisy.  [Daisy looks away]  What’s the matter? 

Daisy:    [still looking elsewhere] Nothing

Me:   But you look a bit sad.  Has someone been bullying one of your friends again?

Daisy:  No.   


Me:    You didn’t get picked for the Easter school play – is that it?


Daisy:    No.

Me:     So what’s up then?

Daisy:    I can’t play on the Wii.

Me:   What you’ve broken it?

Daisy:    No. 

Me:    Well why can’t you play it then?

Daisy:  [sheepishly, indicating she knows it’s just]
Cos my mum took it off me, that’s why

Me:    You mean she’s confiscated it?

Daisy:    Yep. 

Me:  What for the whole Mother’s Day.  

Daisy:   For the whole weekend.   

Me:     Well I’m sure she had a good reason.   

Daisy:   Maybe???

Me:  So why did she confiscate your Wii?

Daisy:    We had a row!

Me:   About….

Daisy:    About maths homework.

Me:    What about maths homework?

Daisy:   Well when you’ve been at school all week, the last thing you want to do on a Friday afternoon is do more times tables.   

Me:    And that’s what your mum wanted you to do on Friday was it?

Daisy:      Yeah.   

Me:   And you wanted to play on the Wii

Daisy:    Well Chloe’s got to level 6 on Mario Carts

Me:    And so you wanted to spend Friday afternoon on the Wii so you could beat Chloe’s score?

Daisy:    Of course.

Me:     But your mum wanted you to learn your times tables.

Daisy:    So boring.  I hate maths.  When you get older, you get a calculator anyway, so what’s the point?

Me:    And that’s what you said to your mum was it?

Daisy:   Sort of.

Me:     So what else did you sort of say?

Daisy:    I told her that she was even more boring than my maths teacher.

Me:    And then what?

Daisy:      I slammed the kitchen door on the way to my bedroom.

Me:     And that’s when you got the Wii confiscated?

Daisy:   Sort of yes.

Me:    So what sort of happened next?

Daisy:   Well when she’s cross, my mum does this funny counting thing.   

Me:  funny counting thing?

Daisy:    Yes, she’s sits down in the kitchen, says a quick prayer and then counts out loud to 10.

Me:   Right. 

Daisy: I mean, why an old woman needs to practicing counting to 10 I don’t know.  

Me:  An old woman.  How old’s your mum. 

Daisy:    Oh [mini pause], about your age.   

Me:    yeah, really old. [mini pause]   And after she’s calmed down, prayed and counted to 10, then what. 

Daisy:   She came up to my room for one of her little chats. 


Me:     One of her little chats?

Daisy:    yes I know it’s going to be bad, because she always starts off her little chats with the same phrase. 

Me:  Which is?

Daisy:    Darling, you know I love you don’t you. 

Me:    Darling you know I love you, but you’ve just done something really naughty and so you’re going be punished.   

Daisy:    How did you know. 

Me:      Just as guess.  And that’s when she confiscated the Wii. 

Daisy:      Yep.  And I had to write out my 5 times tables 10 times before I was allowed out of my bedroom.

Me:    And so you think you mum’s a meanie?

Daisy:   Well I really wanted to play the Wii.

Me:   So do you think your mum’s a meanie then?

Daisy:    Well I know she loves me.

Me:  Well that’s a good start. 

Daisy:  But she’s sometimes she’s really strict;  much stricter than my friends’ mums.

Me:  Well that’s the kind of issue this month’s Bible story is all about.  [mini-pause]
It’s quite a while since our last FS, so can you remember what we’re doing in our FS’s this year?

Daisy:    The 10 Commandments. 

Me:   Well remembered.     So can you remember the first 2 commandments?

Daisy:  You shall have no other gods before me.  And, urrrrm.   No idols. 

Me:   Fantastic Daisy.    

Daisy:   So don’t tell me, commandment number 3 is all about Mother’s Day.   

Me:    No, we’ll get to commandment No 3 in a fortnight on 5 April.  [commandment 5 on the screen]  But because it’s Mother’s day today, we’re looking at Commandment No 5, which is on [p3 of your service sheet/ the screen]

Daisy:    Honour your Father and Mother. 

Me:  So what do you think it means to honour your parents?

Daisy:   Urrrrrm, be nice to them?

Me:   Well that’s a good start.  But it’s much more than being nice.  In the OT, the word honour means ‘show proper respect’, or ‘highly prize’.  [mini-pause]
So you’re into playing computer games and you think a lot of your Wii don’t you? 

Daisy:  Of course, that’s what the row was all about.

Me:   So when you’ve finished playing with it, would you just chuck your controller on the floor? 

Daisy:  Of course not.

Me:    And what would you do if you saw your brother using your controller as a football?

Daisy:    Well I’d have to sort him out wouldn’t I? 

Me:  Why?

Daisy:  Because he might ruin it. 

Me:  So you show that value or prize your Wii by the way you treat it. 

Daisy:  I suppose so yes. 

Me:  And it’s the same with your parents, except on a much bigger scale.  In commandment Number 5, God says we should honour our parents;  which means we should greatly value them and show them proper respect.  If you respect and look after your computer games, how much more should you treat your parents properly;  and especially when you think that they’re the ones who brought you into this world and they’re the ones who’ve looked after you since the day you were born.  And that’s why God says, that our parents are the most important people in our lives.  The only person we should love more than our parents is God himself.    So parents rule OK.   And so as always, to help us remember this month’s commandment, we’ve got the banner on the front of the puppet theatre [and coming up on the screen].  [banner 5 on screen]

Daisy:    That’s like me, my mum and dad and my brother. 

Me:    That’s the point.  So let’s learn Commandment No 5 shall we  [SF which you’ll find on p3 of your service sheets]  [commandment 5 on screen]:
Honour your father and mother.       [Cos parents rule OK].

Still me:  So do you think that saying your mum was even more boring that your maths teacher was giving her proper respect?

Daisy:  I suppose not no?

Me:  And what about slamming the kitchen door?

Daisy:  Well it didn’t break.

Me:  That’s not the point.  Was walking out on your mum and slamming the door giving proper respect to your mum?

Daisy:  I suppose not no. 

Me:  Well we’re going to have another Bible reading now which tells us bit more about the 5th commandment. 

Reading 2:  Eph 6:1-4

Me:    Thanks [SF Jean/  Riv: ??  ].       Well in this letter to the Christians in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul was quoting from the 10 commandments. 

Daisy:    Commandment No 5:  ‘Honour your father and mother’.

Me:  That’s right.   And however old we are and however old our parents are, it’s a command that applies to all of us.

Daisy:  what, you mean my mum still has to obey Gran and Grandpa. 

Me:  No, we adults are still commanded to honour our parents.   And what that means will change as both we and our parents get older.    But whatever else it means, it means that we all need to treat our parents and grandparents with honour and respect.  We don’t forget about grandpa because he’s loosing his mind.  And we don’t give up on Gran because she’s deaf and frail. 

Daisy:  My grandparents aren’t deaf and frail, they’re really cool;  they took me to The Deep again at half term. 

Me:  I wasn’t talking about yours, I was talking about mine. 

Daisy:  Oh.

Me:   And even after our parents and grandparents have died, we still have to honour and respect their memory.   We might not have agreed with them on everything;  we might’ve thought they were a bit old-fashioned or whatever, but we should always talk about them with respect.

Daisy:  So calling Grandpa the old baldy’s out then? 

Me:  Exactly.     But that's all about how we honour our parents when we’re grown up.  How did the Apostle Paul say that children should honour their parents?

Daisy:  What do you mean?

Me:  Well what did Paul say in that reading we’ve just had?

Daisy:  Oh, children should obey their parents. 

Me:  That’s right.  Children still living at home with their parents, like you, should obey their parents. 

Daisy:  But why?

Me:   Well that’s a good question.  Because the text says:  children obey your parents in the Lord.    Which means Paul’s talking to families who are already Christians. 

Daisy:  What like mine. 

Me:  Yes and mine.    You see, in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul starts by thanking God that the Ephesians have become Christians.  Because, before that, they’d still been facing God’s punishment for their sins.

Daisy:  what sins like breaking the 10 commandments.

Me:  Exactly.  What was commandment No 1:

Daisy:   You shall have no other gods before me. 

Me:  And how did Jesus summarise the whole of the 10 commandments

Daisy:  Urmm.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love other people as you love yourself. 

Me:  Yep, that’s close enough.  And the point is, who has loved God with every once of their being;  and who has loved everyone around them as much as they’ve looked after themselves. 

Daisy:  Don’t think I have.

Me: nor me.  And that’s the point.  None of us have.  None of us have perfectly obeyed the 10 Commandments and the rest of God’s laws. 

Daisy:   And so we’re all sinners.

Me:  facing God just judgment. 

Daisy:   What you mean hell.

Me:  That’s right Daisy.  That’s the bad news.  But the fantastic news about the Christian faith is that….

Daisy:  Jesus died for our sins on the cross so that we can be forgiven and go to heaven when we die. 

Me:  Perfect Daisy.  That’s the good news of the Christian faith.  If there were no bad news, then there’d be no point in coming to church.  If there’s nothing to be rescued from, then why bother with Jesus.

Daisy:  But Jesus does rescue us from our sins doesn't he?

Me:  He does.  And that’s what Paul’d been reminding the Ephesians about in the first half of the letter.    And then in the second half, he gives some instructions on how to lives as God’s forgiven and saved people. 

Daisy;  Instructions like:  obey your parents. 

Me:  Exactly. 

Daisy:  That’s a bit like the 10 commandments themselves isn’t it?

Me:  What do you mean? 


Daisy:  Well at the beginning of the 10 Commandments doesn’t it say something like: “I am the Lord your God who rescued you from the land of slavery”?

Me:  Well remembered Daisy.  Yes that’s the point.  Even in the OT, the 10 Commandments were never intended to list of rules that you tried to obey in order to get right with God.  No, the whole point is that none of us is good enough for God because the pass mark’s 100%.  And so God had to step in and rescue His people;  and in the OT he rescued them from slavery in Egypt. 

Daisy:  Oh, I've seen a show about that.  [singing]  Such a dazzling coat of many colours.

Me:   Yes we’re going to see a performance of that in a few weeks’ at Parkstone School.  But the point is that God rescuing his people from slavery in the OT was a picture of a much bigger rescue in the NT?

Daisy:    [quizzically] A picture?

Me:    Yes a picture or a signpost to an even better rescue.  A rescue or a salvation from the punishment we all deserve because of our sins.

Daisy:  You mean Jesus dieing on the cross again. 

Me:  Exactly.    And so the point is, that Christian children should obey their parents because that’s what God wants.  And as Christians who’ve had our sins forgiven, we should want to do what God wants in order to please him. 

Daisy:    What you mean, by obeying my mum, it’s sort of saying thank you to Jesus for all His done for me?

Me:  That’s right Daisy. 

Daisy:  So does that mean that children who don’t believe in Jesus can disobey their parents. 

Me:    Well what did the rest of that reading say in Eph chapter 6?

Daisy:  What you mean the bit about ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth’

Me:  Yep,  The 5th commandment was the first one with a promise the text says.  And the promise was that if they obeyed this commandment, then things would be good for them in this life not just in the next.

Daisy:   So you mean, the more I obey my mum, the longer I’ll live. 

Me:  Well it’s more general than that.    Very obedient children can still have really bad accidents or get really sick and even die.  But if you obey your parents, you’re more likely to be safer and healthier.

Daisy:  So like learning the green cross code when we cross the road and eating up all our fruit and vegetables. 

Me:  Right again Daisy.    And these things apply to everyone, not just Christians.

Daisy:  I don't understand

Me:  Well there’ll always be exceptions, but nearly all parents love their children and want to help them and protect them from danger.  And so nearly all children are going to be safer and healthier if they obey their parents. 

Daisy:  And so what you’re saying is that even children who don’t believe in Jesus should obey their parents because it’s good for them. 

Me:  Exactly.  Any society that bins the honouring of its parents is doomed to become a broken society.    And sadly, that’s what you can see happening in parts of our own country today.

Daisy:  Right????

Me:  So let’s bring it back to the Wii.    What should you have done last Friday when your mum asked you to do your maths homework.

Daisy:    I suppose I should have obeyed her and done it. 

Me:  You suppose you should have obeyed.  You should have obeyed willingly, remembering that God wants you to honour your father and mother;  remembering that Jesus died for you, so you could be forgiven. 

Daisy:   I suppose so.  

Me:   Not I suppose so, but yes that’s right.  Let’s do it. 

Daisy:  But I was so tired.  I’d been at school all week. 

Me:  Well can you remember v4 of our second reading.

Daisy:  No.

Me;  Well, let me read it again:  “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Daisy:      Don’t understand. 

Me:  Well the point is that God doesn’t want mums or dads to be mini-Hitlers in the home.  Parents are meant to be reasonable with their children.  To listen to them and weigh up what they’re saying.    We get a lot of ‘I wants’ in our house;  what’s reasonable for a 3-year-old is different to what’s reasonable for an 8 year-old;  and that’s different to what’s reasonable for a teenager. 

Daisy:  So are you saying my mum has to listen to me. 

Me:  I’m saying that God wants you to obey your parents.  But yes, your parents also have a God-given responsibility not to be unreasonable in their requests. 

Daisy:   So mum should have let me play on the Wii after all then?

Me:    You disrespected you mum by called her boring and slamming the door on her. 

Daisy:  And I said sorry for that. 

Me:  I’m glad to hear it.  But if you were tired on Friday afternoon and really wanted to play computer games, what could you have done when your mum asked you to do your maths homework?

Daisy:    Urrrrm.   I suppose I could have promised to do it on Saturday morning and asked her politely if I could play on the Wii?

Me:  Well done Daisy. 

Daisy:  But what if she still said no?

Me:  Then you should still have obeyed her and got on with your times tables anyway. 

Daisy:  So am I allowed to keep asking her until she says:  “Oh whatever, just do what you want, I’m too tired to care anymore”.

Me:  Well would that be honouring your mother?

Daisy:  Not really. 

Me:  Well you know the answer to that one then.     What’s commandment Number 5: 

Daisy:    Honour your father and mother.

Me:   Parents rule OK.    Let’s all say it together.    [commandment 5 on screen]
Commandment Number 5:  honour your father and mother:  Parents rule OK.

Song 4: 

  [Daisy exit during song]

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