I discovered this poem inserted into Dale Carnegie’s How to win Friends and Influence People. What do you think about what the author is communicating? One of my next posts will be about Blessing, a powerful part of the Honor Cycle. This poem is a great way to introduce the topic.
“Father Forgets” by W. Livingston Larned [tweet this]
Listen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came Up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before you boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, form a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to your for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.
And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!
It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing buy a boy – a little boy!”
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.
What do you think about what the author is communicating?
My new book, The Honor Cycle, will be released later this summer. It explores how the flow of honor and blessing between generations empowers families and societies to learn from their successes and failures, solve problems together and build a better future for generations to come.
The Honor Cycle is initiated by two actions:
1) Practicing Honor
2) Releasing Blessing
Here are six things you need to know about the Honor Cycle: (tweet this)
1) Honor Benefits You (tweet this)
Honor is not a cultural formality without relevance. On the contrary, it is hugely rewarding! You may know the 5th Commandment, “Honor your father and mother.” Did you ever notice that it’s the only one of the Ten Commandments that follows with a promise? “Honor your father and mother that it may be well with you.” The practice of honor helps you make the most of your life.
2) Honor is Probably Not What You Think It Is (tweet this)
Unfortunately, our society has lost touch with the true meaning and purpose of honor. “Honor” has become more about outward expressions of respect, rather than cultivating an internal sense of value for other people. The true meaning of honor is all about placing value on another person.
3) Honor Benefits Your Parents (tweet this)
You may not know it, but your parents and mentors have emotional needs just like you. One of their greatest needs is to know you value them. When you start practicing honor, they will become much more secure. In fact, you’ll notice them becoming better in their role, which benefits you and keeps the Honor Cycle flowing!
4) Your Blessing Benefits Your Children (tweet this)
There is no greater power you have as a parent than to release blessing on your children. It shapes their sense of identity and purpose. Your words have the power to change your child’s future, and your blessing is the key to help them receive everything you have to offer. It’s an essential part of the Honor Cycle.
5) You can Correct Negative Behavior and still Release a Blessing (tweet this)
As a father of young children, I recognize parenting is not about pretending your children are perfect. You have a responsibility to correct negative behavior. These moments, however, can be great opportunities to reinforce the Honor Cycle by taking time to speak a blessing while bringing correction.
6) Releasing a Blessing is a Supernatural Process (tweet this)
Are you ready to get spiritual? Faith in God will empower you to release blessing on a whole new level. Allowing God to be a part of the process will supercharge the power of the Honor Cycle and multiply your blessing for many generations to come.
What questions do you have about the Honor Cycle?
Our society has lost touch with the fundamental practices that allow one generation to build on another. Our celebration of independence and individuality has inadvertently disrupted the cycle that allows us to build a legacy across multiple generations. As children, we feel responsible to achieve success on our own. As parents, we’re so caught up pursuing our own dreams; we don’t know how to invest in the next generation. As a result, family relationships are broken and generations are not positioned to work together.
There is a natural cycle, however, that will create a thriving future from generation to generation (tweet this). I call it the Honor Cycle. When properly cultivated, the Honor Cycle empowers families and societies to learn from their successes and failures, solve problems together and build a better future for generations to come.
The Honor Cycle is initiated by two actions:
1) Practicing Honor
2) Releasing Blessing
Do you believe that generations were meant to build one on the other? What do you think about this idea of an Honor Cycle? Is there hope for our future?
Our generation faces a significant dilemma. It’s easy to be overwhelmed at the enormity of the global challenges we face—trillions in national debt, food and healthcare for billions of people, global warming, and nuclear dissemination, just to name a few. When faced with grave issues such as these, great generations throughout history arose courageously, tackling catastrophic challenges and building a better future for their children. We should do the same. Yet, our challenges are too big for one generation (tweet this).
Take our national debt. Even if we were to allocate ten percent of current federal revenue each year toward paying the debt down, it would take almost 70 years to pay it off. Without the commitment of our children toward a long-term solution, this problem will never be fixed. The same can be said for problems involving poverty and the environment.
We may set in motion great solutions for the future, but future generations must finish the work. Meanwhile, we need the experience of previous generations to help us develop solutions. A prosperous future does not hinge just on our generation finding the courage to arise, but rather on many generations coming together, building one on the other.
Is our society set-up to do this? What needs to change to enable this to happen?
My next book, The Honor Cycle, will release later this summer. It’s a project I started years ago after God asked me to do something I thought was a bit strange. In prayer one morning, I sensed Him ask me to honor my father and go to college. It didn’t make any sense to me, because I knew I was called to full-time ministry. Bible School seemed the logical choice. The next fifteen years, however, would reveal that God was using my parents’ counsel to set me up for His best plan for my life.
Over the last decade, every aspect of my life has been profoundly impacted by the practice of honor. I realized that honor had actually propped open the door for me to receive something I desperately needed from my parents and mentors. It’s something I call blessing. The Honor Cycle is the flow of honor and blessing between generations. When properly cultivated, the Honor Cycle empowers families and societies to learn from their successes and failures, solve problems together and build a better future for generations to come.
Questions The Honor Cycle answers:
How can I have a better relationship with my parents? (tweet)
I’m an adult now. Why should I listen to my parents? (tweet)
My parents don’t have a relationship with God. How can I honor them? (tweet)
My parents are controlling. What should I do? (tweet)
I don’t feel supported by my parents. How can I get them to understand me? (tweet)
How can I have a better relationship with my child? (tweet)
I’m finally an empty-nester! Why do I need to be so involved with my child? (tweet)
I’m hurt because my child is so unappreciative. What should I do? (tweet)
I totally disapprove of my child’s choices. How can I bless him/her? (tweet)
My own parents weren’t affirming. How can I release blessing to my child? (tweet)
I’m tired of trying. My child is beyond hope. Can you help me? (tweet)
Leading up to the release of The Honor Cycle, I want to invite you to explore what this cycle is all about. I’ll post articles here and would really appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s really easy to follow me (enter your email address on the right-hand side) and I promise I’ll only send you posts once or twice a week that will help strengthen your relationships.
If you know anyone who may benefit from answers to these questions, please invite them to join this discussion with us. You can use the share buttons below, or just forward them the webpage. I really appreciate you trusting me with your friends and family.
What do you think about this? Is the Honor Cycle an intriguing concept to you? What questions would you like to see answered?
Could your parents use some work? Years ago I had a friend stay with me for a few months in my DC home. He moved to the area because he and his girlfriend were taking their relationship to the next level. He wanted to be close so they could spend more time together growing as a couple and she worked in the DC area. As their relationship progressed, it was important to them that they involve her father in the process. The problem was that she didn’t have the best relationship with her dad. He hadn’t been the best role model for her, was rarely present and they didn’t share the same values.
My friend’s girlfriend wasn’t sure how it would all turn out, but they agreed together to involve him in their relationship. He reported, “When we set to honor her dad by including him in our relationship, at first he was very abrasive, but in the long run, it was extremely healing for both.” Not only did their relationship improve, but the demand on him to step into this role pulled the best out of him and helped him become a better father. Now this couple is married with kids and they enjoy a fulfilling relationship with her father.
I’m noticing – even as a young parent – when my need for honor is met, it pulls the best out of me. When my daughter asks me questions about God and relationships and her heart is wide-open to learn from me, I get serious about what I say. I don’t take it lightly. I know that my words are shaping the belief system of another person. It’s a big responsibility. Many times I have to analyze my own motives and beliefs to make sure I’m giving the best response.
I think this is a universal response of healthy parenting. While dishonor may cause a wounded parent to exert control and irrational behavior toward a child, honor will often cause them to take a new posture. When a child communicates that they value their parents and they want to learn from them and have their input into their lives, parents will rise to the challenge. They’ll start weighing their own motivations and thought processes, searching for jewels of wisdom to pull from their own journey. Dishonor may cause parents to live defensively about the choices they’ve made, but honor will cause them to examine their choices and help their children make better ones (tweet this). When the relationship is no longer about parents fishing for their own need of honor to be met – when they are secure that they are valued – the weight of that position will drive them to be the best parents (role-models, advisers, confidants) they can be.
In what ways could your parents be better? How do you think honor could help?