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. By reprioritizing what is really important in our lives, we can make it easier to be respectful towards some of our most prized possessions: our children.
One day, Ariana told her mother, “I don’t think it was right when you yelled at me to not yell. If I can’t yell, you shouldn’t either.” Her mother’s first response was to explain the differences between the yelling rule for parents and the yelling rule for kids. Then she realized it would be hypocritical to have two different standards. She swallowed her pride and apologized to her daughter. Showing this respect towards her child helped open a door of communication between the two. Mother and daughter were able to talk about the need both had to lower their voices and show respect.
The saying, “what goes around, comes around” can be aptly applied towards helping children understand the need for parental respect. Children are sensitive towards hypocrisy. When we demand respect from them, without giving it ourselves, they will see right through our dishonest behavior. While making mistakes as parents is a certainty, our behaviors toward such errors can help our children learn to respect us.
Respect toward siblings
Liz noticed harmony in her home was lacking because she and her brothers were constantly fighting. Instead of helping one another, these siblings looked for ways to annoy. One day, discouraged over the lack of relationship with her brothers, Liz decided to try to change the harmony in her home. She vowed to start treating her siblings with more love and respect. While difficult at first, after months of perseverance, Liz’s patience and long-suffering towards her brothers eventually reaped rewards when they began to reciprocate. Their home dynamic changed, and the once foresworn blood enemies were now best friends and protectors. Their close relationship helped them outside their home, as well. The siblings watched out for one another at school and cheered during extracurricular activities. Because of the respect they gave each other, Liz and her brothers became each other’s best friend.
Growing up with siblings can add fun and adventure to life but it can also lead to a chaotic environment in the home. While it is easy and popular for older children and teenagers to focus more on friends, our siblings should never be forgotten as our first companions. Maintaining love and respect towards these close relations is important and needful both as children and continuing into adulthood. Siblings can be powerful influences for good and instigators of respectful relationships.
Harmony in our homes will never be perfect. But it can get better. When we make the effort to bring more respect into our homes through our relationships with our spouses, children, parents and siblings, love and peace can follow.