Five fingers. At their defiant or rebellious moments that is what I would flash my children. Words were not necessary. They knew what it symbolized – the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and mother.” It was God’s rule, not mine, and for a while it was effective.
Ironically, right now the children of Donald Trump are one of the most visible examples of honoring a parent. Despite growing up in a broken home as a result of two divorces – including a scandalous public affair with Marla Maples – the Trump children have a close relationship with their father. Not only that, they stuck by his side throughout the election – no matter what. During times when he openly disrespected women, imitated a disabled reporter, and insulted people of various backgrounds, his children continued their unwavering support. Donald Trump commanded the respect of his family despite his frequent disrespect of others.
Even his rival, Hilary Clinton, applauded his children. When both candidates were asked at the final debate to share one positive quality about the other, Clinton responded, “Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does. But I do respect that, and I think that is something that as a mother and a grandmother is very important to me.”
As the Trump children likely experienced, respecting a mother or father can be extremely difficult and require strong boundaries, especially when an abusive or absentee parent is involved. Even in healthy relationships, honoring a parent may be a challenge when a child doesn’t agree with parental behaviors or decisions. But I believe respecting the role is still important. Being a parent is a God-given position that cannot be taken away – it is also a life-long responsibility.
My hope in the days and years to come is that President Trump may earn the respect of the American people through his actions and his words. And may he, as our country’s leader, embrace and embody each of the Ten Commandments – all 10 fingers.