Parents are not only the providers of benefits, but are the guides of their children in all the relations of life. There may be cases where a father and a mother prove themselves unworthy of their children’s regard; but it is usually found that parents are as solicitous for their children’s welfare as their own. Being adults and having experience of the world, they are in a position to form better judgments than their children. Therefore not only is it the duty of a child to obey his parents, but in doing so he is consulting his best interests. Just as the boy who would learn to eat must attend to the instructions of his teacher, so those who wish to grow up into honest and useful men must follow the dictates of their parents.
The captain, when entering a strange port trusts to the pilot to guide his ship safely. Our parents are our pilots. We sail in strange waters, and our safety depends on submission to the directions of those who are more experienced.
We are not always well-advised in our choice of companions. When the time comes for us to decide what trade or profession we are to follow, when misunderstanding and perplexities arise, be done; and it is our duty to obey implicitly, for love and experience combine to give value to their advice. Examples of disobedient sons and daughters are but too common in this world, and very regrettable have often been the results of this disobedience. In former times, among the Romans, it was considered a serious crime, and the father might, if he was so minded, punish it by death. One of the ten commandments given by God to the Jews was: “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God gives thee.” Disobedience is base ingratitude, and one of the greatest cruelties a child can inflict upon a parent who has toiled for years for his sake, and lavished upon him all his affections, regardless of self. It is a crime which brings its own punishment.
How bitter must be the remorse of one who, standing by the deathbed of a parent, remembers all that parent’s love and constant unselfishness, which have been repaid by disregard for his wishes and outspoken contempt for his orders!