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Dear Gramps,

I am a 25 year old YSA, and still living with my parents for the time being. I have a good job with decent benefits and I’m normally a very agreeable and somewhat reserved person. Especially when it comes to my family life.  However, lately I’ve grown tired of just listening to my dad talk down to me about various topics. He doesn’t pick and choose his battles that’s for sure. He’s also a hypocrite. How can I respect him while standing strong? I feel like he still sees me as a kid.

Justin

 

Answer

 

Justin,

I think it’s time for you to move out.  You have a good job.  So, why are you depending on your parents to house you?  Yes, it will cost you money. But so what?  It’s supposed to cost money to live.  If you’re not willing to move out, then your only choice is to simply deal with it.  Your father’s hypocrisy and nit-picking and condescending attitudes are part of the rent you’re paying.

But let’s get to the root of your question.  You titled your question “Honoring Father and Mother.”  Once you leave the house, how can you still honor your father and mother if you don’t actually believe they are honorable people?  There are several things you can do.

First, make sure you don’t dishonor them.  In other words, don’t go around bad-mouthing them and tell everyone in the world about how toxic they are.  This doesn’t mean you have to lie.  It means that you can focus on the good parts of growing up and tell people about that.  No regular human being is all good or all evil.  So, if you can’t find the good that your parents did, then you’re not looking hard enough.  It is your duty to find that good. That is one way to honor them.

Second, make sure you become an honorable person. And give some of that credit to your parents.  They raised you to be the person you are — even if it was by giving you an example of how NOT to be.

Third, you say your father doesn’t pick his battles, that he talks down to you about the smallest things.  So what if he does?  Is he right?  Maybe he just doesn’t say it in the most compassionate manner or he doesn’t let the punishment fit the crime.  But is it true?  Is he actually right about where you’re missing the mark?  If so, just take it in stride and perhaps thank him for pointing out an area where you could use some improvement.

Fourth, you say you’re single.  Your father may be free with his criticism of your idiosyncrasies.  But will others?  You say you’re agreeable and somewhat reserved.  You will probably marry a woman who is the same.  She may not complain much about your “little annoyances.”  But I can guarantee you that it will bother her.  Do you really want to put her through that?  It is almost a favor to hear about your faults in a cold and blatant manner before you subject your wife to that.  And if you don’t marry such an agreeable person, then you’re going to get it worse from her than your father, I guarantee it.

So, marry yourself a daughter of Zion as your eternal companion.  Work at being a good father and husband.  Raise your children up unto the Lord.  That is how to honor your father and mother without being in a toxic relationship.

In the meantime, consider this account of Joseph Smith giving counsel about people saying bad things about you.

I went one day to the Prophet with a sister. She had a charge to make against one of the brethren for scandal. When her complaint had been heard the Prophet asked her if she was quite sure that what the brother had said of her was utterly untrue.

 

She was quite sure that it was.

 

He then told her to think no more about it, for it could not harm her. If untrue it could not live, but the truth will survive. Still she felt that she should have some redress. Then he offered her his method of dealing with such cases for himself. When an enemy had told a scandalous story about him, which had often been done, before he rendered judgment he paused and let his mind run back to the time and place and setting of the story to see if he had not by some unguarded word or act laid the block on which the story was built. If he found that he had done so, he said that in his heart he then forgave his enemy, and felt thankful that he had received warning of a weakness that he had not known he possessed.

 

Then he said to the sister that he would have her to do the same: search her memory thoroughly and see if she had not herself unconsciously laid the foundation for the scandal that annoyed her.

 

The sister thought deeply for a few moments and then confessed that she believed she had.

 

Then the Prophet told her that in her heart she could forgive that brother who had risked his own good name and her friendship to give her this clearer view of herself.

 

The sister thanked her advisor and went away in peace.

 

— Jesse Crosby.  Cited in They Knew the Prophet, Hyrum Andrus, 162–63.

Best wishes to you.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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