Here are five things you should tell your parents before they’re gone.
I Love You
I know that many people grew up never hearing “I love you” from dad or sometimes mom, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t love you. Some families lived in cultural backgrounds where they just didn’t say “I love you” that often. But love is more than words. Consider what your parents did for so many years, a long labor of love. So tell them “I love you” even if you don’t hear it in return.
Not being thankful is described by the Apostle Paul as one of the attributes of unbelievers during the end times, and how unthankful it seems we are today. When was the last time we said “thank you” to someone? I don’t mean insincere flattery but genuinely complimenting someone for something they did or are doing. Of course, that means your parents. No one knows the day or hour of their departure, so tell them “thank you” before it’s too late.
I Am Sorry
To me, the eight most important words we can ever say to someone, parents included, are “I love you,” “thank you,” and “I am sorry.” These all take humility to say, and that’s just what God desires in us. It is so refreshing to hear someone apologize, and I feel cleansed when I tell someone I am sorry. It’s like a load’s been lifted. Don’t hesitate to tell your parents you’re sorry when it’s needed.
I Needed It
No young child will ever come up to you and say, “Thank you dad or mom for disciplining me. I really needed that.” No, that will not likely happen until the child’s grown or, more likely, when they have children of their own. Tell your parents today that you appreciate their discipline when you were young and that you needed it, as every child does. Discipline is a sign of parental love.
See You Later
When a parent is close to dying, it’s not goodbye but “see you later” because for the Christian, there is hope beyond the grave (1 Corinthians 15). We who have repented and trusted in Christ will see our saved loved ones again in the kingdom. Oh, what a day that will be. Encourage your parents that not even death can separate us from God or from one another in the kingdom of God (Romans 8:38-39).
We have to do more than swallow our pride. We need to kill it because God will resist every prideful person (James 4:6). We ought to humble ourselves before our parents and honor them and thank them for all they’ve done. Tell them you love them. Thank them. Tell them you are sorry for some of the grief you caused them. Tell them you needed their loving discipline. And it’s never goodbye but “see you later.”