After you’ve identified a cyclical relationship like the Honor Cycle a natural question to ask is, “Who goes first?” Who should step out and jump-start this cycle? I remember sitting in Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’s marriage seminar, surrounded by couples looking for help improving their relationships, when this question came up in regard to a different cycle between men and women, Love & Respect. He paused for a moment, looked up at the eager crowd and answered, “I always say, let whoever is most mature go first.” [TWEET THIS]
What a perfect response! It shifts our thoughts away from who owes whom and who has neglected whom the most, to who is ready to take a step toward healing or improving the relationship. Who is ready to put themselves aside for a moment and put the other person first?
Of course, with young children, parents have the first opportunity to speak blessing long before the child even understands the concept of honor. But an adult child is perfectly able to kick the cycle off by looking for ways to honor their parent. It really doesn’t matter who starts. The trick is to be selfless, preferring the other, meeting their needs with no expectations in return. If you can accomplish this, you’ll see a huge difference in your relationship that will grow for years to come. Over time the other person will likely begin to respond naturally in ways that meet your own needs.
Who will start the Honor Cycle in your relationships?
A few years ago I had the privilege to speak at a night service in my parent’s church, the church I grew up in. While I was preparing my message, I felt an impression from God to use the opportunity to publicly acknowledge my dad as the great father, mentor and role model he’s always been for me. I shared how his words of wisdom had paid huge returns in my life, and how his example as a servant leader in church had shaped the way my siblings and I are committed to our own church.
For me, the result was a really powerful moment in our relationship. When the service was over my dad showered me with words of blessing, affirming me as a speaker, as a young father, and as his son. Because of our personalities, it’s not easy for people in my family to affirm one another, but that moment was a special one for me. I really saw how honor can open the door for affirmation in a powerful way. [TWEET THIS] As a result, our relationship grows stronger than ever.
Are you frustrated, looking for more affirmation? Do you think practicing honor can help?
When I was in college, many guest speakers visited our church, some of whom had a unique ability to hear what God was saying and communicate it while praying over others. I was raised to be pretty skeptical of such claims, so you can imagine that my posture was not immediately one of honor toward these people. Rather, I took an initially critical approach, watching from a distance, looking for holes in their theology or impure motives.
Yet as soon as the speaker began praying over me, my posture quickly changed. It didn’t take much, just a sentence or two about how God sees me, the significant person that He had created me to be, and my heart was turned. I thought, “This person hears from God! What an amazing gift!” I was prepared to believe and follow most anything else that would come out of their mouth.
The blessing they spoke over me automatically resulted in my honoring them and their gift. Even as a child, the more someone would affirm me, the more weight I would give to what they had to say. This wasn’t only because of my ego, but because I felt like they could identify the greatness I felt God had put inside of me.
You’re looking for your children to value you more. Have you tried speaking to the greatness inside them by releasing your blessing? It may just open their hearts to receive from everything else you have to offer.
Are you frustrated because you’re not honored? Do you think releasing blessing can help?
Learn more about Releasing Blessing:
Discovering the Honor Cycle has been a long journey for me. I’ve spent the last fifteen years intentionally growing in the practice of honor. Of course, there are still days where I catch myself wanting to forge my own path. But I’ve seen the advantages of this lifestyle in ways I never could have expected. Here are some questions that can help you get the Honor Cycle moving in your family. (tweet this)
1.) How do you see your parents’ generation?
Think about it for a minute. Do you see value in the previous generation? Given the chance to build something on your own, would you demand that they come and build with you? Or do you relish the opportunity to stand on your own without their oversight?
2.) How do you see the next generation?
Does your vision for the future go beyond your life? What are you invested in that will benefit future generations? Are you prepared to come alongside a new generation and empower them to flourish?
3.) Would you consider a new approach?
What if the Honor Cycle truly does have the power to transform our families and our society? Are you willing to change your lifestyle to take advantage of its power? The Honor Cycle won’t self-initiate, but it only takes one willing person to get it moving in your family. Are you willing to consider a new approach to life and relationships?
Would you like to share your answers to any of these questions?
I remember the first week on my own. It was the summer before my sophomore year at The George Washington University. Freshman year was sheltered. We were forced to stay on campus. We had roommates, rules, RAs; this summer was different. I was living by myself. My parents helped me move in to my small efficiency, stayed for a couple of days, and then they were gone. I haven’t lived at my parents’ home since that day.
I’m no expert on parenting young adults. My kids are just out of diapers! My expertise is in being a young adult. I know what I need from my parents and I’ve taken time to separate what I think I need from what I actually need. That summer before my sophomore year was one of the scariest experiences of my life. But my parents were able to help me use the experience to grow and develop into an adult.
Here are 5 ideas for helping your child develop after they leave the house:
1.) Support their Interests: Your child is different from you. Affirm the parts of them that you don’t understand. They shouldn’t feel they have to be exactly like you to have your approval.
2.) Tell Them What You Tell Your Friends: When I go home, I sometimes run into my parents’ friends at various places about town. I hear from them about all the AMAZING things I’m doing with my life. They have heard about things from my parents that I didn’t even know my parents knew about…some of them I didn’t even know about!
3.) Say ‘I Love You’: This was not spoken in my family growing up as much as it was implied. We’ve grown past that now and we let each other know how we feel. Life is too short to go one day questioning. Be clear. Say “I Love You!”
4.) Let Yourself Be Impressed: It seems during adolescence that parents feel the need to flip a switch from constant affirmation to “ego-checking”. Don’t be your child’s worst critic. Be impressed when they’re impressive and let someone else pick it apart.
5.) Pray: Even if you don’t have physical access to your child, you have spiritual access. I believe parents have special prayer rights over their children. God hears your prayers and will work to bring your blessing to your child.
Parents – How have you helped your child develop after they left the house?
Young Adults – What’s been helpful/unhelpful that your parents have done?