Deportment of Children

“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long on the land which Jehovah your God [is] giving to you” (Exodus 20:12).

I am NOT promoting or endorsing Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) as a true Christian when I quote from him, but he provides some insight that may benefit true Christians.

According to heretic Dr. Curt Daniel, Timothy Dwight

“was a grandson of Jonathan Edwards.  He was a notable preacher but was especially influential as President of Yale College for 22 years.  During his time there and as a result of his preaching, a revival broke out known as the Second Great Awakening.  One-third of the student body were converted.  As a result of his preaching to the responsible wills of the students, Dwight followed the pattern of ascribing more ability to fallen wills than had Edwards in the first Great Awakening.  His repeated series of sermons were collected and reprinted as Theology, Defined and Defended, one of the largest systematic theologies of New England Theology” (Curt Daniel, The History & Theology of Calvinism, p. 105; underlining Daniel’s; Jonathan Edwards hyperlink mine).

Here is Dwight commenting on Exodus 20:12 (underlining mine):

“When children speak of their parents to others, they are bound to speak with the most exact caution, and with similar respect; and never to say any thing [sic] concerning them, which they would be unwilling to say to them, when present.

It is their duty invariably to endeavour, so far as truth and propriety will admit, to render the character of their parents respectable in the eyes of others. The faults of their parents it is their duty to conceal; their excellencies always readily to admit; and to experience, and manifest, their satisfaction, when others admit them. They are not indeed to boast of the good qualities of their parents; as they are not to boast of any thing else; but with modesty and propriety to welcome them, when mentioned by others; and, when they have a becoming occasion, to speak of them themselves.

Sometimes children are compelled to the mortification of hearing their parents ill spoken of by others. Their duty then requires them, whenever they can do it with success, to repel the ungenerous attack, and to defend the character of their parents. If this is not in their power, they are bound to manifest their indignation and disgust by such declarations as the nature of the case demands; and at least to prevent themselves from the pain and mischief produced by such conversation by withdrawing finally from persons of this unreasonable and abusive character.

The same spirit ought to appear in all the deportment of children. The deportment of children when their parents are present ought to exhibit every mark of respect. The honour required in the text ought, in the literal sense, to be here invariably rendered without qualification, without reserve, without reluctance. However humble the station, the circumstances, the education or the manners of parents may be; the child, instead of discovering that he is ashamed of them or of assuming to himself airs of importance, is bound cheerfully to acknowledge their proper superiority; to exhibit towards them a respectful deference; and always to prevent even a remote suspicion that he is reluctant to give them their proper place” (Timothy Dwight, SOURCE).