For a variety of reasons, many young adults are returning to the family home or staying there longer than in years past. Conflict under such conditions often seems inevitable.
In my mid-twenties I found myself coming home to my parents - a temporary arrangement while I completed my education. I had been earning my own living for several years and enjoyed my independence. Although my folks and I had always kept in close touch, I was somewhat concerned as to how this live-in arrangement would work out.
As a Christian Scientist, I had learned from experience that no problem is too difficult for God, so I resisted the suggestion that unhappiness or conflict was inevitable. I had known the fifth commandment, ''Honour thy father and thy mother,'' n1 since childhood, but I hadn't really thought deeply about its implications.
n1 Exodus 20:12.
As I prayed about the change in my living arrangements, I began to realize that I needed to be obedient to this commandment, regardless of how old I was. I saw too that in a subtle way I had been taking my parents for granted, and that this complacent attitude needed to be challenged. I could take this as an opportunity to grow out of my child role and develop the parenting qualities that have God as their source.
I began to understand that honoring my father and mother did not mean I had to surrender my individuality or unquestioningly accept unreasonable demands. I had only to honor what was from God and more consistently practice the Golden Rule. n2 I also tried to be more conscientious in my daily prayers.
n2 Luke 6:31.
Christ Jesus acknowledged God as his divine Parent. But he did not ignore his responsibility to his human family. During the crucifixion, he ensured that his mother would be taken care of by a disciple who expressed a high sense of love.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, often spoke with gratitude of her devout parents, especially her mother, whom she credited with instilling in her a deep love for God.
Thinking about this, I thanked God for giving me an opportunity to spiritually upgrade my relationship with my own parents. Challenging long-held beliefs and behavior patterns wasn't always easy, yet I persisted in my prayers.
At the same time, I stayed alert to what needed attention in the home, helping with housework and meal preparation, and working in the yard. I made progress in seeing beyond petty annoyances and misunderstandings. I learned to appreciate and honor my parents' true individuality as the reflection of the heavenly Father-Mother. Mrs. Eddy assures us: ''God is over all. He alone is our origin, aim, and being. The real man is not of the dust, nor is he ever created through the flesh; for his father and mother are the one Spirit, and his brethren are all the children of one parent, the eternal good.'' n3
n3 Retrospection and Introspction, p. 22.
As a result of this earnest desire to express more of God's qualities, all three of us have learned from each other, and additional mutual interests have been uncovered. Both Mom and Dad often voiced their pleasure in having a young person with them, while at the same time granting me plenty of privacy for my college studies. I earned my degree in less time than expected, and all my work was on the honors level. I feel this was largely due to the spiritual lessons I was learning at home.
If we do find ourselves returning to our parents' home, this need not be a backward step. Every improvement in parent-child relations blesses the entire human family and leads to the realization that all of God's children dwell together in unity in His household. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalms 133:1