WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WORD 'RESPECT'?As we grow older it seems that there is less and less respect in the world. I find myself saying, “I would never have spoken to my father like that when I was a kid.” Along with lack of respect there seems to be a general lack of healthy fear. I do not think we should be frightened of our parents or of those in authority, but respect for others and fear of the consequences should stop us from making negative choices.
WHY ARE PEOPLE DISRESPECTFUL?They place little or no value in themselves or in other people.
They may have come from a disrespectful home environment.
WE HAVE TO SPELL IT OUTTo instill respect in our children we need to understand the meaning of respect. Respect is demonstrated by holding high regard for authority, position, possessions and living things, and also by being courteous. We can train our kids to be respectful from the time they are toddlers and we need to continue to train them right up until they leave home. It is an ongoing process. The simplest way to develop respect in your kids is to decide what ‘respect’ will look like in your home. Here are some suggestions:
Respect in this home means that:
a) We are obedient to our parents and those in authority over us.
b) We do not interrupt others.
c) We do not fight with one another or take others’ stuff without asking.
d) When we borrow others’ stuff we look after it as if it were our own, give it back
when we said we would and return it in as good condition as we received it.
e) We speak kindly to one another and will not raise our voices in anger.
f) We tell the truth and keep our promises.
f) We respect our grandparents by visiting them or calling them regularly.
g) We thank people for doing kind things for us.
h) We take care of our pets and the environment.
RESPECT IS FRAGILE AND DIFFICULT TO REGAINWe expect our kids to be respectful, but respect is a fragile thing. It is lost when we disappoint our kids by being poor examples. If we shout at them, speak disparaging words to them, break our word, or ignore them, they have nothing to respect in us as parents.
We have to learn to say, “Sorry” for critical words said in haste or if we administered inappropriate discipline. We need to admit we make mistakes sometimes and ask for forgiveness from our spouse and our kids. If we can identify what being respected feels like to us, then we will know what our kids need. If they respect us, we can be fairly confident that they will also respect others.
Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families