I've been reflecting on this
commandment lately.  It's an unusual one, in that most of the
other commandments are about avoiding an evil, whereas this is a
positive command — not just avoid doing bad, but do something good
instead.

Two reasons come to mind as to why it is so hard to
keep this commandment, even when you've been blessed with pretty good
parents:

    The first is intimacy.  We
get to know our parents so well that we see all their faults.  My
kids probably have only a vague idea, if any, as to whether the
neighbor lady yells at her kids or skips her prayer time or has a bad
habit of hogging all the good halloween candy.  But if I do those
things (who me?!), they know.  For all we worry about the
embarrassment of a priest learning our sins in the confessional, our
kids are the ones who really have the dirt on us.  And it's hard
to honor someone when you see all their dirty laundry, day in and day
out.

    The second reason is related —
children often bear the brunt of their parents' sins.  If the
neighbor lady is too lazy to cook a decent dinner, oh dear, that's
something she needs to work on.  If I'm too lazy to cook a decent
dinner, my poor kids might eventually begin to resent PB&J* for
supper every night.  And wheras they'll feel a little
sympathy  if the neighbor kids are suffering such a plight, they
may understandably be downright resentful if they suffer it themselves.

It's a real challenge.  We're asked to honor the people whose
faults are most obvious, and whose sins hurt us most personally. 

*All examples are hypothetical.  Because I dislike making sandwiches, my kids probably would not get PB&J in reality.

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