This week’s mediation on the 7th attitude is an application of the tenets Respect & Obedience and Humility. We listen to the instruction of instructors and seniors because one aspect of their instruction is to keep students safe while they train. Additionally, the instructor’s goal is to impart Tang Soo Do knowledge and culture to the student. Even if you have previous training in another martial art, your humility and respect should help you to recognize the uniqueness of Tang Soo Do.
Inherent to this attitude is the cultural practice of honoring elders. Parents are our first elders and teacher. They teach us everything from how to walk to how to love, from how to admit wrong to how to forgive. They are the most unacknowledged yet most dependable mentors we have. It is important to take care of your parents especially as they age and their need grows for physical and mental help.
There is also a theme that runs through the Bible that instructs us to honor our elders with warnings of failure to do so. In Nehemiah 9:16, Nehemiah is explaining why the nation of Israel was under the thumb of Assyria and Babylon. He tells them, “our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey [God’s] commandments.” And in the New Testament, Paul instructs Timothy in the care and esteem of elders within the church: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”
The role of the elder is not simply limited to our parents and church leaders, but can also include our elected officials. Paul, again, tells us to “let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Romans 13:1-2). May we learn the lesson Nehemiah was teaching to the ancient Israelites so that we may not also fall to a similar discipline.