Honor Those Who Have the Rule Over You

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 17 - God Tells Us How to Live

TEXT: Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-3; Titus 3:1; Hebrews 13:17


The students will understand that God wants them to respect and obey their parents and other adults in authority.


Introduction: As an opener, use the poster described in In-Class Activities and provided under Patterns. Talk about how God has ordained this structure of authority.

Progression of events:

  1. God gave the Children of Israel a Commandment specifically directed to children.
  2. Children were to honor their father and mother. One of the ways this can be done is through obedience.
  3. This instruction is also taught in the New Testament.
  4. Present some present-day illustrations of obedience and disobedience.

Climax: God promises good things to those who heed this instruction.

Conclusion: Honor and obedience to those in authority are just as important today as they were in the time of the Children of Israel.

Response: Your students should be able to explain the meanings of the words obedience and disobedience, and give specific examples of each type of behavior. They will be further able to relate which type of behavior is commanded by God.


God commands children to honor their parents. The word honor means more than just obedience, but also "to highly esteem and to give a place of superiority." Jesus was our example when "he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them" (Luke 2:51).

Disregard for this Commandment is growing and, in fact, was predicted by Paul when he said, "In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous ... disobedient to parents" (2 Timothy 3:1-2). Obedience to this Commandment brings a divine blessing and disobedience a divine curse. (See Ephesians 6:1-3 and Deuteronomy 27:16.)


  • Make a set of chain people for each child (see Patterns). Fold on line 1 so the figures are inside. Then fold on lines 2 and 3 toward the outside edge so there is a figure showing on each end. Cut through all layers, following the outline of the top figure. On the back of each figure have the children write a name of someone they should honor and obey.
  • Provide materials for your class so they can design a Thank You card for someone who God teaches they should obey—a parent or care-giver, a teacher, minister, or other older person. On the inside, help them print the words:
    "I promise to listen to what you say,
    And do my best to always obey."
  • Make a large poster of the diagram showing the relationship between children and God, parents, or those in authority (see Patterns). As you look at the poster, talk about how obeying rules can help children be happy, and can help them please God.
  • Have the students match phrases or pictures of ways to obey figures of authority. Examples:
    do homework   clean room   stop signs
    clean chalkboard   do dishes   bike-path rule
    don't talk   answer phone   no trespassing
    draw pictures   baby-sit   no skating (thin ice)
    run errand   dust
  • Give each child a copy of the Honor worksheet (see Patterns). Have the children circle the words that tell how they can show honor to a person. Cross out the words that don't show honor. Talk about the importance of showing honor to our parents and other adults.


  1. God is our heavenly Father. Compare obeying God with obeying your earthly father. How is it the same? How is it different?
  2. What is God's promise to you if you obey your parents?
  3. How do you think Jesus felt toward Mary and Joseph when He was just a child?
  4. The Bible tells us to honor and obey our parents. What other people should we honor and obey?
  5. If your parents are not Christians are you expected to honor and obey them? Why or why not?
  6. If a child does not obey his parents, will he obey his schoolteacher? Why or why not?
  7. List some reasons why it is important to obey people who have rule over us. How could you show someone that you honor or respect him?
  8. What would happen if nobody obeyed the laws or rules of the government?
  9. Talk about your attitude when you are obeying. What does God think about feelings of anger or unfairness?
  10. Explain how obeying is more than just an action.
  11. Do you remember a time when you disobeyed? How did you feel? How would things have been different if you had obeyed?


  • Draw a town on a chalkboard or use paper buildings in a sandbox. Have one road and include two or three houses, a school, store, baby-sitter's house, police station, fire station, etc. Have a doll (or just draw footsteps) visit each place and talk to the person the child should obey. Give examples.
  • Take a number of objects to class to illustrate ways preschoolers can obey. Make a poster that says, "I'm happy when I obey" (see Patterns). Take a bar of soap and a washcloth to show washing face and hands when told to do so. Take a dress or shirt to show getting dressed. Take a toy car to show sitting quietly in the car. Take a doll bed to show getting up when called. Take a toothbrush to show brushing teeth. After each item is mentioned and discussed, hold up the poster showing how we feel when we do obey.
  • Make a simple apron (the type that just ties around your waist) and sew on as many small pockets as you have students. Into each pocket put a round, smiley face on which you have written the name of a student (a different name in each pocket). Put on the apron in class and tell the children that the pockets contain the names of people who obey. Let the children choose a pocket. Take the smiley face out and read the name on it. Tell of a time when that person obeyed. (Examples: Turned around when told to. Sat down when told to. Picked up something when told to.) Emphasize obedience in a positive way. Tell the children that God sees even the little things we do for others.
  • Make an Obey O'Bear for each child (see Patterns). Copy the bear onto posterboard. Each bear will need to have a 27" to 36" shoelace. Punch out the holes around the bear's tummy. Tell the children that each time they think of a person they should obey, they can put the lace through one of the holes in Obey O'Bear's tummy, starting at the neck. There are only ten holes so they should have a pretty easy time. Tie a bow at the neck when done.


Display a large picture of a family (see Patterns) on a board. Completely cover the picture with 12 cards that are numbered from 1 to 10, plus a smiley face and a small picture of parents. (Scramble the numbers and pictures before pinning on board.) Have the children pick a number, and tell you which Commandment it is. Under the parents' picture card have the question, "What is the promise that was given with the Fifth Commandment?" The smiley face picture would be "free"—the student may choose another card. Each time a child answers a question he may remove the card and try to guess what the large picture underneath is.

Respect, regard, honor, and esteem all mean about the same thing; that is, ''to obey and love." However, we can obey without loving, but we want to obey and love. God wants this also. To emphasize obedience with love, use Gloomy Glen and Cheerful Chuck from our last lesson. Pretend they are asked to clean their rooms. Gloomy said, "I'll get a whipping if I don't." Cheerful says, "Mom sure will be happy when she sees my room so clean." Make a list of different situations and ask the children how they would respond if they were Gloomy Oust obedience) or if they were Cheerful (obedience with love). Accept the answers the children give, but emphasize that love cares about how the other person feels. Gloomy thinks about himself, but Cheerful thinks about others.

Adapt the game "Simon Says" for your review. For young children, use the phrase "God says." Include as many church-related actions as possible; such as, fold hands in prayer, point to Heaven, touch a friend, smile. For older children, make the game a little more complex by telling them to do the same types of actions whenever you mention someone that God wants us to obey; for example, mother says, father says, teacher says, minister says.


  • Obedience — by Jane Belk Moncure, Gospel Publishing House
  • My Church — Classroom coloring book, 8 each of 6 pictures, Standard Publishing
  • Going to Church — Dot-to-dot Coloring Book, Standard Publishing