Cultivating respect in families

The secret to having long lasting happy relationships with your family, friends and colleagues is respect. And for you to command respect you need to give respect to others around you. Do not mistake obedience and fear for respect.

  • Our homes are supposed to be our havens. Yet often they aren’t because of the disrespect we find there. Following are different areas of focus to help instill love and respect in our homes.
  • Respect toward spouse

    Often, when about with her young children, one of Nancy’s sons could be seen helping her with her coat. While this respectful act from young sons toward their mother may have surprised many, to the more observant — it did not. When he wasn’t busy working, Nancy’s husband, David, was always seen placing her coat over her shoulders. This small example, of how a husband helps and respects his wife, spoke volumes to David’s young sons. They, in turn, merely followed their father’s example.

    It’s often obvious when a child mimics the behavior of one of their parents. Parents, in turn, learn quickly to encode more delicate subjects. But what is difficult to hide is one parent’s bad attitude towards another. If mom constantly rolls her eyes when dad talks, the kids will notice and follow. If dad sighs when mom is running late, the kids will pick up on that, too. By respecting each other, parents can not only help foster a spirit of love in their homes, they can also set an example of how their children will likely behave when they reach adulthood and have spouses, as well.

  • Respect toward children

    “Not right now!” is a phrase often said to young children eager for our attention. As busy parents, it can be easy to respond to children’s constant calls for attention in a disrespectful manner. While it is not always appropriate to respond to all their needs immediately, it is possible and important to put them off respectfully. It can take many efforts, but if we focus on the worth of our children and of our deep love for them, respectfully responding to their queries can become habitual.

    Often, it is the misalignment of priorities that is behind our disrespect towards our children. Wanting some time to ourselves after a long day at work, the desire to finish reading a paragraph or running late for an appointment all cause us to grow short and disrespectful towards our kids. Yet, if a visiting dignitary took the place of these small ones, it is unlikely we would treat them in a disrespectful manner.

    Our children are visiting dignitaries. Sent from God to live in our homes, they will one day mature and leave to start families of their own.


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