On Teaching Respect at Home
We all hope our children grow to respect us and be respectful of others. So how do we create a home environment that fosters respectful children?
Quite simply, an important part of the responsibility for this falls to us as moms.
We model it consistently and diligently when we respect our husbands.
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
Each day we have a choice. We can either deride, challenge, contradict and scold our husbands, or we can choose to ignore their weaknesses and admire their strengths (every man has both).
This is a choice, a conscious daily discipline.
As Anne Ortlund puts it,
“If father has no clout, eventually neither does anyone else.”
That includes us, as wives and moms. That includes our children’s teachers and authority figures. We are setting the stage in more ways than we know for our children to understand and process respect. It starts in the home. It starts with mom respecting dad.
This is God’s design expressed in Ephesians 5:33.
Maybe you don’t feel your husband loves you well, the other side of the love/respect ideal. That’s sad, but it’s also beyond your control.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still do your part. In fact, God may change your husband’s heart through your actions, and you will certainly bless your children by doing so (I Corinthians 7:13-16).
What’s more, are you critical of those in authority around your children?
Are you critical of law enforcement officials? Government leaders? If your child has a run-in with a teacher or coach are you quick to blame and pick your child’s side? There is another approach. One in which you remind the child what a difficult job these authority figures have. One in which you read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, Romans 13:1-5, or 1 Peter 2:13-14 together and help your child process the situation in a respectful way, even when you disagree.
Respect for authority is a value we must teach our children. It’s a value that will eventually lead them toward respecting and following God’s authority.
On Teaching Values at Home
We want our children to experience good lives. Teaching values is essential to this outcome. It’s how we show them the difference between what’s good and bad. We usher them towards the good and warn them away from the bad.
Hopefully, they get it. Hopefully, they choose good and experience the many, many blessings that flow from living God’s way.
We love them, so we teach them values.
But what values do we teach them exactly?
The ones that come to my mind are hard work, respect, honesty, compassion.
Anne suggests drawing our parenting values straight from 1 Corinthians 13 (also known as the Love Chapter). Because, really, what greater goal is there in life than to love?
1 Corinthians 13 includes things like:
- kindness, compassion
- gratitude, contentment
- true humility
- acknowledges authority
- fulfilled in helping others
- self-controlled, temperate
- protects, shields the vulnerable
- trusts, gives the benefit of the doubt
- hopeful, optimistic
That’s a pretty good list, eh? And we can’t expect our children to ingest values they hear and don’t see in our lives. These values are to be lived first by us.
Which of these values is coming up in your life today?
Which of these values are you investing in your children specifically right now?
The ideas in this post are adapted from Disciplines of the Home by Anne Ortlund.
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