A September to Remember: Embracing Respect
Today’s though-provoking ‘vintage post’ is from Jessica Bowman, author of
To read more awesome insights from Jessica, you can find her over at Bohemian Bowmans!
Well, the New Year is around the corner, in case you weren’t aware. And now that the Christmas sugar buzz is wearing off, I suppose most people, like me, are starting to reflect on 2010 and peer curiously towards 2011.
There are some a lot of circumstances in our life that I have no control over. This post is about the other things.
The things I can do.
First of all, I’m not a resolution making person.
I never make New Year’s resolutions. I think the “success” rate of them is abysmal, and I don’t want to be disappointed in myself later for not meeting some silly and entirely too specific goal. Instead, I just enter every new year with the obvious plans of growing wiser that year, becoming a better parent, wife, friend, and follower of Jesus.
This year, I can feel myself funneling my regeneratory New Years powers in a certain direction.
No, it’s not a weight goal. Though it probably should be.
I’m not wanting to climb a mountain.
Or learn to make jewelry.
Or visit Disneyworld.
It’s a Family Mission Statement whittled down to one. single. word.
I’ve been thinking a lot about respect the last couple of months. In regards to parenting. In regards to learning.
I began to learn about respect in marriage a few years ago when I read a book about it. I had never thought very much about respect before then. I had never realized the importance of it. The magnitude of it.
But, for some reason, though that book did shift my respect paradigm in relation to my husband, it didn’t leave that little box that I put it in. It never occurred to me that the concept could spill over into seemingly unrelated areas of life, like education.
But in the last quarter of 2010 I began to think a lot more deeply about education. About learning. About parenting.
And the theme I kept coming back to is Respect.
I’ve realized anew this year, that in practice, I don’t respect my children very much. I hold my authority over their head and play my “because I said so” card too often.
I often times feel like I am living out Colossians 3:21.
“Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.”
I’ve been crushing the spirits of my children.
With my impatience. With my harshness. With my disrespect.
So with tears and the simple, unrefined prayer of “help” repeated untold times as I lay in bed at night, I began to grasp a hold of the practice of respect in our day to day.
I’ve increasingly stopped talking to them as if they are children, but instead as if they are grown ups. Or, more accurately, as if they are people.
As if they are people created by God with talents and purpose that I have no right to squash with my annoyance.
So much of what children do that exasperate us are not “sins” at all. They are just people with very little experience at life who need to be led by example.
Examples in authority are powerful.
It is ever so hard to step outside of the parenting you were parented with.
Or the marital skills that were modeled for you.
And it is ever so illogical to think that if we are harsh and impatient with our children, they will learn to be respectful and loving of their siblings and friends and future families.
So, I’ve been learning to respect my children. To treat them as people. To listen. To explain things they don’t know yet, as if they were another grown up, instead of as if they are inconveniences and ever disdainful children.
And, lo and behold, the more I’ve treated them with respect, the more they have respected me. And each other.
The more patient I’ve been with them, the more patience they’ve shown each other. The calmer I’ve been with them, the calmer they’ve been with each other. The more attention I’ve shown them, the more attention they’ve shown each other.
I realize this isn’t a complicated concept. And is the second greatest commandment at it’s base.
Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
But sometimes that can feel truly hard to practice and own.
So, that is my purposeful word for my family this year.
And it is already changing us.
Don’t forget to check Jessica out over at Bohemian Bowmans, and take a look at her ebook!
L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood , Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages , and The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline the first three books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.