This week’s Torah portion is Yitro, which tells the story of God delivering the Ten Commandments to the Jews. One of the commandments that is most meaningful to me is, “Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that the Lord your God is assigning to you” (Exodus 20:13).
Mothers and fathers are very important in everyone’s lives. First, they are important because no one would be here without them, literally. But they are also important because none of us would be the same without them. Parents strive to give their children happy childhoods. All of this is hard work, and it is therefore one of the most important reasons why we should honor our parents.
On a deeper level, parents, through their actions and words, influence whether their children become valuable members of society. On any given day, my parents might do things for me that model how to, for example, be patient, strong or understanding. When they provide good examples of this behavior, we learn to act that way too, not only with our friends and classmates, but also when we grow up and have our own children.
We also know that there are times when our parents say no to us because it is the right thing for us even when don’t know it. When that happens, it can be very hard on a child, but the reality is that this is one of a parent’s hardest and most important responsibilities. They love us, and want to help us grow into resilient and mature adults capable of dealing with the real world around us.
The older I get, the more I realize that it is this parental role that is the real reason why our parents deserve to be honored as it says in the Ten Commandments. Parents are creating the next generation for the world and we want society to be filled with good people.
Nadia Scharfstein is a seventh-grade student at Krieger Schechter Day School.