Dr. Randy Carlson
Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us there’s a time and season for everything. In life, there is “a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” As we grow older, challenges and crossroads appear as sure as the calendar turns from fall to winter.
I’m a thinker, and I often think about the importance of facing change with optimism, plans for success and a will to finish strong. Certainly, the seasons illustrate the inevitability of new horizons and the importance of being intentional with each season life brings. Within a heartbeat, your life can be altered with changes in health, finances and many other areas. As children of aging parents, it’s important how you honor them as they face each new season of their own life. How do you help them make the tough decisions with love and respect?
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As their child, helping them navigate these things can be uncomfortable at times. It can involve a role reversal, where parents turn to you instead of you turning to them for advice, encouragement and support. But it’ll be easier if you are able to discuss your parent’s wishes before life presents you and them without a difficult choice. Perhaps you are wondering if it’s time to address these things. If you see signs of their memory fading, changes in their eating habits or poor choices in their finances, it might be time to step in.
The Bible spells out the importance of honoring your parents. It is one of the Ten Commandments, and Paul wrote about it at length in Ephesians 6:1-3. As a child, you were commanded to obey your parents. As an adult, you’re no longer under their authority but you still want to honor them and respect them. Sometimes that means creating certain healthy boundaries.
In my book “Starved for Affection,” I use the term Active Respect to describe the natural consequences of behavior. You can show Active Respect for your parents by getting to know what they want:
- Calmly assess what is going on: Ask God for clarity and wisdom in analyzing your situation.
- Honestly look at your part: Develop an understanding of what your parents are going through.
- Develop a simple written strategy: Intentional decisions will strengthen you and your loved one.
- Remember to record their memories on video or in scrapbooks.
Love and respect for your aging parents allows them to live their lives without regrets. It helps resolve issues and allows them to finish strong without leaving any unfinished business behind.
Suggested Intentional Living Broadcast
Do you have an aging parent or parents that you are taking care of? We’d love to hear your stories. Post comments below.