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Teaching respect is an important part of family values training and character building. Even if a school, club, or other group is teaching respect to your children or teenagers, it is important that you reinforce that instruction at home. Teaching respect benefits the entire family by producing greater harmony among family members. Amazingly, teaching respect improves family health, increases family safety, and saves money, too.

Teaching respect should be a joint effort between you and others who instruct your sons and daughters.

Define Respect

Respect recognizes that every person has value, and takes action to treat people that way, even if it requires personal sacrifice.

Disagree?

You may disagree, and argue that not every person has value. Some are bad, immoral people, sometimes to the extent of being downright evil. It is not safe, you warn: teaching respect for everyone.

Let me ask you three questions:

  • Do tigers, wolves, and grizzly bears have value even though they can kill?
  • Can a chemical such as chlorine, harmful if swallowed, really have value?
  • Should we value automobiles, even though they can inflict injury or kill?

Safety and Health Tips

Teaching respect does not mean instruction in a dangerous practice. Family values training should not knowingly endanger your family. Properly teaching respect for others should produce greater health and safety.

The key is respect from a distance.

Children and teenagers should learn that every person has value simply because he or she is a human being. Then they should learn to value them properly.

They should learn to value school bullies, sick people, those with sexually transmitted diseases, and other potentially dangerous people from a distance. They can exercise respect from a distance by treating others and their belongings in a way that demonstrates their value.

Words: They can show that even the worst people have value as humans by consciously choosing decent words when speaking about those people. Strong, dirty language stirs up feelings and increases trouble, even when it is indirect. It always shows a lack of respect. Always. Period. Yelling slurs at or about a bully, child abuser, or other unliked person is to invite retaliation. Your family will be both healthier and safer when every member concentrates on clean, decent words. That goes for all communications, including phone, texting, and email.

Actions: Children and teens can show that potentially dangerous people have value by treating those people’s possessions with respect. Kicking a bully’s locker or damaging items that belong to a bully is a way of showing disrespect, not respect. Bullies know that, and your child reduces his or her safety with such an act. The same goes for “decorating” the home of a potentially dangerous adult with broken eggs, toilet tissue, etc. Your family will increase health and safety by taking care of others’ possessions.

Family Harmony Tips

Teaching respect increases harmony among family members. Compare your family to a large orchestra. Composed of about 100 members, an orchestra must play in harmony. It can do that only when each member respects the others. The violin must not steal the flute’s notes. The trumpet cannot borrow the part of a trombone. Each instrument must treat the notes (the belongings) of the others in a way that shows their value. Each must show the value of the other instruments in the way they treat them. Then, and only then, can they produce beautiful harmonies.

Teaching respect to Anna regarding her older sister Jennifer, demonstrated partially by her treatment of Jennifer’s clothing, will produce increased peace and harmony between the sisters.

Teaching respect to Caleb regarding his parents, demonstrated in part by the way he treats the family car, makes a more agreeable family relationship.

Every family member should learn to show by his or her treatment of them, the value of every other family member’s belongings. You show that you value the people themselves when you refrain from harming their belongings. Books, toys, sports equipment, clothing, computers, money, and even a candy bar – whatever belongs to another person should be treated with respect.

The more thoroughly you engage in teaching respect as part of family values training, the more likely you are to establish a household with harmonious relationships.

Money Saving Tips

Money saving tips are never out of style, but how can teaching respect save money for your family?

Go back to Anna and Jonathan, mentioned above. If teaching respect to Anna makes her treat her older sister’s clothing with care, no one will have to spend money to replace something that Anna damaged. If teaching respect to Jonathan makes him treat the family vehicle responsibly, Dad and Mom will not have to spend money on repairs.

Many parents squander money on cigarettes and liquor. Some value themselves more than their families, and lavish family finances on non-necessities such as dirt bikes, huge television sets, or faddish clothing. Meanwhile, they do not respect their family’s belongings, letting houses, cars, tools, and clothing fall into disrepair.

Parents show that they value family members by being careful how they care for the home, for family clothing, and for other belongings. Parents show that they value family members, and set a good example for children, by using coupons and sales wisely. They show the worth of family members by the way they spend – and they save money.

Every family member, including parents, shows that he or she values the others by using family resources wisely and carefully.

Model the Character Trait

Teaching respect is important to your family. It can produce greater harmony, health, safety, and money savings.

But it must be modeled.

A model of the character trait motivates children and teens, and the best models are parents. Work to build respect in your own life; exercise respect toward your children and their belongings; and your children will learn to build this vital character trait in their own lives.