"Honor your father and your mother..."
Of course, more often than not, it was rendered a bit differently, to something more kid-friendly.
"Obey your father and mother..."
Apparently, in the Old Testament days, children were just running rampant!
Since then, it's become clear that the commandment wasn't really directed at children at all, any more than any of the commandments were. It applies just as much to adults as it does to children. And, in fact, I believe it is a call-to-arms for parents, specifically. That's because the commandment works under the assumption that "your father and mother" are living according to God's word. In fact, it is just one chapter away from the passage I have quoted up above, known as the Shema.
It is with this commandment that we see God's plan for what I'll call "family heritage". Raise your children according to God's word. Set an example for them of what God expects, and do your utmost to live a life worthy of the sacrifice and grace God gave us. If you do that, then our children will do the same. Or should do the same. They should honor us. But not us, specifically. It isn't meant to be a mandate to glorify your parents, but a mandate to follow in their footsteps...presuming they followed in their parents' footsteps, and theirs before them.
The whole commandment is this:
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
When we look at the history of Israel, to whom this was specifically given, we can see how well they succeeded. Each generation, it seemed, turned further away from the teachings of their parents, and by extension, the Lord. The end result? The nation fell away from God and time and time again brought into captivity.
We risk doing the same with our children. If our children, and their children, and their children's children are to "honor their father and mother", then we, as the parents, need to be worthy of their honor! If not, then our children, or their children, may end up captive to sin, estranged from God the Father and the grace offered through Jesus Christ.
The Hebrew word for "honor" implies a heavy, burdensome task. It isn't something that necessarily comes easy, but something we must work at. As children (even as adults), we are to work hard toward living out the heritage our own fathers and mothers have shown us. And if our father or mother wasn't living for God, then we are to look at our heavenly father as the one to honor.
And the term for "father" actually doesn't just mean our direct parent, but our ancestors or forefathers. It is a commandment to work hard to follow the beliefs and teachings left to us, as adopted children of the Lord, as those inheriting from "father" Abraham.
If we succeed at that, then perhaps our own children will also "honor" their father and mother.