Without respect for others, the holidays would be mayhem.
What do I mean? The character quality of respect shows up in many arenas each day. We should respect people’s titles. We should respect people’s stuff. We should respect people’s time. We must respect ourselves.
Without respect, everyone looks out for themselves and relationships are trampled in the melee.
The busyness of the holidays can cause folks nerves to be frazzled and on edge. All that celebrating can be downright stressful! Throw in a rising level of disrespect, and the whole season can be ruined. So, how can we develop respect in the midst of the Christmas countdown?
Everyone has “stuff,” and everyone wants their own stuff to be respected. We can help our children learn to develop respect for other people’s property by teaching them to ask first, before they touch. When we are respectful of what belongs to others, they will be much more likely to feel comfortable sharing those possessions with us.
Conversely, if we live the “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine, too” adage, our friends and family will feel disrespected.
Although we want our children to be generous with their possessions, there are times that a wise parent must step in and help to protect their own child’s “stuff.” If our children believe they must hand over everything they own, anytime someone asks, they will struggle with self-respect. Observe what happens when other children are in your home. Are they respectful and careful of your children’s belongings? If not, be the adult and step in to help your children. The other children will benefit from your direction and your own children will feel loved, respected, and protected.
Is your family careful to respect other people’s time? Time is a commodity that can never be retrieved. As you work diligently to show up where you are to be and when you are to be there, you will be building a character of respect for others. Although punctuality may be difficult at times, planning ahead and watching the clock will alleviate the stress of late arrivals.
Will your family be attending parties or outing with others this holiday season? Role-play ahead of time and teach your children how to respectfully greet those people to whom they are introduced. Teach them to look others in the eye and speak clearly. Encourage them to consider questions they could ask to initiate conversation on their own.
Respect isn’t a difficult character quality to learn, but it does take forethought and practice. Don’t expect your children to appropriately show respect if you haven’t taken the time to teach them how to do so.
Discuss what respect “looks like,” role-play at home, then watch as your children take possession of the character quality of respect.
According to the book of Romans, when we show respect to others, we are actually showing them love. I want love to be the characterization of my life. How about you?