This is lesson #6 in our curriculum called “God’s Good Rules” that helps children study the Ten Commandments. In this Bible study, kid will discover how God put authority in their lives (like parents) to be a blessing. Download the complete printable lesson plan below. See all the lessons and find bonus learning activities on the series page: God’s Good Rules – A Study for Children on the 10 Commandments.
“Obey Authority” Lesson #6 in the God’s Good Rules Series
Bible Curriculum for Kids on the 10 Commandments
Main idea: We honor our heavenly Father by obeying our parents.
Teaching Supplies Needed: Bible; dry erase markers or chart paper and markers; Ten Commandments Coloring Page 5th Commandment; Coupon Book Craft, stapler, scissors, coloring supplies. For bonus ideas, see all our resources for teaching the 10 Commandments to Kids
Memory Verses: Psalm 119:1-2 “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”
- Exodus 20:1-8
- Exodus 20:12
- Ephesians 6:1-2
- Romans 13:1
- 1 John 3:1a
More 10 Commandment Learning & Activities
- See our printable 10 commandments for kids version
- Compare our single Ten Commandment Sunday School Lesson
- Compare our single Preschool Bible Lesson on the Ten Commandments
- Moses and the Law of 10 Commandments (preschool coloring page)
- PDF Worksheets on the 10 Commandments
- Commandments Preschool Booklet [pdf] and Mini Book [pdf]
- Moses Songs for Preschoolers
- Go Fish Guys sing the 10 Commandment Song
- See the 10 Commandments for Kids on Sunday School Works
Teacher Preparation & Devotion Time
Read Scripture references, Malachi 1:6, 1 Peter 5:5, Luke 16:10, 1 Samuel 2:11, Ruth 1:16, Esther 2:7-10
Take time to meditate on this week’s Scripture and think about your own life. We often tend to think that the fifth commandment is for only children. While children certainly must learn to honor and obey their parents, we as adults are still called by this commandment to honor our own parents. This looks different for every relationship. It could mean visiting aging parents and helping them with work that is difficult for them to do. It means calling them up on occasion just to chat. It could mean making an effort to visit, and to let them be a part of their grandchildren’s lives. It could look like asking for advice or help, or simply watching your words to ensure you never speak poorly of them to others. It means owning your own life, and not blaming any of your own shortcomings or sins on how you were raised. It could mean forgiveness and reconciliation.
Sometimes, the best way to honor someone is to now allow unhealthy relationships to continue. If the people who raised you don’t know the Lord or are not in a good place with Him, they may be difficult people to get along with. If you come from an abusive past, you may wonder how you can honor your parents. Forgiveness is a form of honor. But forgiving one’s parents for any wrongdoing does not mean you need to suddenly be best friends with them. Prayerfully maintain healthy relationships with your parents (and in-laws) by establishing healthy boundaries. As you prepare for this lesson, reflect on how you honor your parents and other loving authorities in your life.
Also bear in mind this week that some of your students may come from difficult or even abusive homes. Some may be in the foster system or going through the adoption process. Some may be experiencing divorce or the loss of a parent. Those of us from stable homes can often take for granted that there are so many who don’t have that luxury. In church, where everyone tries to put their best foot forward, it may be difficult to spot hard home lives. Be attentive and prayerful on behalf of your students this week. If you know of or strongly suspect abuse, discuss this with your head of ministry or pastor, so your student may receive the help they need.
Game and Lesson Introduction: Mother/Father Says
To introduce the fifth
commandment, you will play a game of Simon says, but simply change the title to
“Mother (or Father) Says. Have your students spread out in the room with enough
space around them to follow your commands. To have them follow a command,
precede it with, “Mother (father) says….” Include some commands that you do not
wish for them to follow. For these, simply give the command without saying,
“mother/father says” first. If desired, after everyone gets the hang of the
game, you can have students be out if they make a mistake. You could also have
them respond to the commands they are supposed to do by saying, “Yes, Mom/Dad!”
before they complete the action. After you are the parent in the first round,
you could have students take turns giving the commands. Make sure they
understand to give reasonable, doable, safe actions. No jumping off chairs or
poking your neighbor! Some examples of silly actions to include are: hop on one
foot, pat your tummy, sing “I’m a little teapot,” or high five a neighbor. Have
the last command you give them to follow be to sit down and prepare themselves
for the lesson.
Kids Bible Lesson: Obey Authority (Fifth Commandment)
Open in prayer, then say, you all did a great job obeying the commands in our game! I can tell that you are learning the importance of obedience. We have been learning about the Ten Commandments and how it is important to obey God’s good rules. Can anyone remind me why we have rules? (Allow students to answer.)
Rules help keep us safe and healthy, and to help us get along nicely with others. The first four commandments are about how we relate to God. They tell us how to keep our relationship with God happy and good. Let’s review the first four commandments now.
(Ask the children to tell you the commandments in order if they can remember them. Either read Exodus 20:1-8, or paraphrase each commandment, focusing on the main idea. Below is the excerpt from Exodus 20, quoted from the NLT, and the main ideas from the four previous lessons. Review as much or as little as your students need.)
“Then God gave the people all these instructions:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
3 “You must not have any other god but me.
4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
7 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy”
- We worship only God because only God can save us from our sins!
- We don’t worship created idols, because we worship the invisible, incredible Creator!
- We keep God’s name holy by our words and our actions.
- We take a special day each week to rest and worship God.
The first four commandments are about our relationship with God, and the last six commandments are about our relationship with people. The fifth commandment is about a very special relationship. Let’s read in Exodus 20:12 to see what it is. (Read, or have a student read, Exodus 20:12.)
“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
Who knows what “honor” means? (Allow students to answer.) Honor means to respect, to show that someone is important to you. The first commandment that helps us get along with other people shows us how to have a good relationship with our parents. That tells us that our parents are very important people in our lives!
(Now, as you teach, be sensitive to the fact that some in your class may not have stable home lives. Not all of them have honorable families. While it may be tempting to skip over this uncomfortable and awkward discussion, I encourage you to talk to your students about this in age appropriate ways. Even if all of your students come from happy homes, they may know other kids who don’t, and they may be able to minister to them.)
Before we get any further in our lesson, I want you all to understand something. Not everyone has parents who love Jesus. Some parents can be unkind. Not very often, but sometimes, every now and then, a parent might say or do hurtful things to their child. I want you all to know, that I am a safe person. Our pastor is a safe person. If you ever feel scared or unsafe about your home, you can talk to me, and I can help you. Okay?
Now, even parents who love Jesus and do their best to follow him can make mistakes. Everyone sins. Everyone gets angry sometimes. Our parents are not perfect people. But we are still called to honor them, to be respectful and obedient. Let’s have a sword drill to understand why it’s important to honor our parents. Take all bookmarks and fingers out of your Bibles. Hold them, closed, above your heads. When I say go, look up Ephesians 6:1-2. Go! (Read, or have a student read Ephesians 6:1-2.)
“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
When we obey our parents, things will go well for us. Parents know how to take care of you and provide what you need to have a safe, happy, and healthy life. When you listen to your parents and do what they tell you to do, you will live a long life. That’s a promise from God!”
Here’s another thing to consider: not everyone lives with their mom and dad. There are a lot of different reasons for this. Sometimes kids may live with an aunt or uncle or a grandparent. God still expects kids living with adults who are not their parents to honor those adults. Think about Ruth and Naomi. Ruth married Naomi’s son, but when he died and Naomi was going to move back to her own country, Ruth chose to stay with her mother-in-law and move away from her home country so Naomi would not be alone. That was honoring Naomi. In the book of Esther, it says that Esther was raised by her older cousin, Mordecai, and his wife. Esther obeyed and respected Mordecai. The book of 1 Samuel tells us how Samuel’s parents dedicated him to the Lord, so Samuel was raised by the priest, Eli. Ruth, Esther and Samuel are examples from the Bible of people that honored adults who were not their mom or dad, just like they were told to honor their parents.
This leads me to my next point. The fifth commandment tells us to honor our father and mother. As we have just seen, this can mean more than just our parents. Romans 13:1 tells us, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God” There are other adults, other authorities in your life that you are expected to obey. Can you name a few? (Have students answer. Examples include grandparents, pastors, teachers, Sunday school teachers, coaches, music instructors, police officers, etc.) That’s a good list. The commandment tells us to honor, respect, obey, our parents. Our parents are very special to us. No one can take their place in our lives! They teach us so much! When we learn to honor our parents at home when we are young, we are practicing honoring the authorities we will have in our lives, like our bosses as adults.
Honoring our parents also helps us to honor our heavenly Father. There are lots of Bible verses showing that God is our heavenly Father. One of my favorites is 1 John 3:1a.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” We are God’s children, and one way we can honor our Father in heaven is to honor the parents and other authorities he has placed in our lives.
Before we move on to our craft, let’s list on the board a few ways we can honor our parents. (Examples include completing chores without being asked, doing extra work around the house, helping out with siblings, not complaining about doing schoolwork, getting ready in the morning quickly, and of course, giving hugs and saying “I love you!”)
End in prayer.
Craft: 5th Commandment Coloring Page
5th Commandment Coloring Page by Many Groce. Have children write their name on the coloring page. As they color, discuss with them what they learned today. They may take the coloring pages home, or you may collect them to put together into a book to be sent home at the end of the unit. You can find options with printed text (instead of cursive script) when on the 10 Commandments Coloring Book page on our website.
“Coupon Book” Craft
Students will make a coupon book to present to their parents as a way to honor them. Have students cut out and staple the pages of the coupon book together. (Or do this before class to save time.) Explain that a coupon book is a collection of coupons that they will give to their parents. Each coupon has a thing the student can do to show honor to their parents. When their parents want to redeem a coupon and have their child complete the honorable act, they will tear out the card and hand it to their kid. The child must complete the action right away, without grumbling! Students will write their names on the cover. On the inside, they will write things they will do to honor their parents (or other loving authority in their lives.) They can use the examples you recorded on the board, or they can come up with their own. They can also draw pictures in the coupon book. Be sure that they do not mark beyond the dotted line, or their work may be hidden by staples. As they work, remind them that honoring their parents is one way to honor God.
Further Study on the Honoring Your Parents
Read the article about the command to honor your father and mother and the get more background on the Ten Commandments from Wikipedia.