The first rule of the traditional Code of Tang Soo Do is “Love and respect your parents.” But, what does it really mean to love and respect your parents?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the most popular definition of love is “an intense feeling of deep affection” (2019). And while this is a reasonably accurate definition, Pastor Wintley Phipps explained it best when he said “Love is when you choose to be at your best when the other person is not at their best. Love is when what you want is never important. But what the other person needs and wants is always paramount.”(Oprah Interviews Wintley Phipps, Nov 22, 2015). True love is a gift of the heart, simultaneously given and received.
Similarly, respect is best defined as a both a noun and a verb; “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements,” and “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others” (Oxford Dictionary, 2019). Respect is not granted carelessly, it is earned. Therefore, respect is a gift of the mind, also simultaneously given and received.
The most common definition of parent is simply the mother and the father of a child. However, parent is legally defined as, “an individual who has custody, guardianship or access rights in regards to a child …” (duhaime.org). In most legal jurisdictions the term parent includes individuals who cause a child to be born through a surrogate mother; those who adopt a child, those who have care or control of a child through a foster care arrangement; and those who, though being of a same-sex union, have the care or custody of a child, or some combination of the above.
So, what does it mean to love and respect your parents? The ones who support you, love you, and believe in you even when you are not your best. Those who raised you, who put your needs before their own, and without whom you would not be who you are. Simply put, showing love and respect to your parents is cherishing their influence and existence in your life, honoring their feelings, wishes, rights, and traditions, and choosing to be at your best even when they are not present.
Written by Bu Sabom J. Hawley on Mother’s Day in honor of the best mom ever, yours!