This Act Will Define True Success For You

Do this one thing to earn the promise of success and longevity.

  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” – Eph 6:2-3 A couple of days ago, I was chatting with my son to check on his school, extracurricular activities, and how he was. He was very upbeat, telling me about his hat-trick that set up the win for his football team coming from two goals down. “I was frustrated missing some chances in the first half. But in the end, I got my hat-trick, and we won 6-2. Listening to him sound like me while talking about his maths and accounts assignment put a smile on my face. The closing exchanges of our conversation made me reflect on my interactions with my parents. “Love you, dad.” And I replied, “I love you too, Champ.” After that conversation, I realised I could not recall moments when I told my parents I loved them and vice versa. I have vowed to change that. “I think sometimes that had I known she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book – less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life….I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known and that what is best in me I owe to her.” – Barak Obama, Dreams from My Father We should not miss any opportunity to honour our parents. I took my chance by writing my first book, celebrating the values my mama instilled in me. And International Women’s Day is a timely reminder for us to honour our mothers – the sacrifices they made for us, the seeds they sowed in us and their selfless service to society. I watched mama persevere through one high school teaching job and waited for almost 40 years despite all the challenges along the way. She went for months without pay, walked about 5KM under 30+ oC five days a week and hardly complained. To my youthful mind, this was unnecessary pain and suffering. So, I naively offered to pay mama’s salary for her to resign and stay home instead of “killing herself for no reward or recognition.” Her response has defined how I approach work and business. “Ayo, it is not about the money. I will do it for free if I have to. It is my calling. I feel peace, satisfaction and fulfilment seeing my students graduate. And I will do it until I achieve my dream of becoming the principal.” She waited for 33 years to realise that now. I retired happily a few years later with a sense of accomplishment that money cannot give. My parents’ lessons and example have shaped the professional I am today, helped define my values and inculcated my work ethic. If we sincerely reflect, we will see we owe more to our parents than we may be crediting them for. And whether we accept it or not, I believe honouring our parents is the beginning of success.

Here are five ways I suggest we can honour our parents.


Tell them you love them.

Seek their counsel. My dad might be a high school dropout, but I have never underrated his experience and wise counsel. I honour him by seeking his advice when I face critical decisions in life, career or business.

Honour them with your substance.

The little things will mean the most. We must provide for our parents financially.

Support and care for them.

This is not financial. Show genuine interest – call, listen and talk to them. Recently, a friend told me how excited she was to be visiting her 100 years old nana. We can honour our parents with the value of our presence and attention.

Make them proud.

We may say some parents are hard to please. And it does not mean we have to pursue the path they want for us. But, I am sure giving our best with consistency, commitment and character in what we do will make any parent proud.

The act of honouring our parents is good, and Godly teaches us to recognise authority and makes us humble. If you have a rocky relationship with your parents, I encourage you to repair it. Learn from the late Maya Angelo. If you have a great relationship with them, make it even better. “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” – Prov 1:8-9 Whatever is the state of your relationship with your parents, invest in it. Honour them. It is the one act that will define true success for you.  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *