Friday, May 22, 2009
Your mom can do it. You can do it. Can your child do it? What is it? Define and spell respect. Websters Dictionary defines respect as: v 1. think highly of; 2. show concern for n 1. honor 2. concern. I think in today's world respect is no longer a noun. It is simply how you feel towards a person. People don't even respect places anymore. I have heard of people stealing things from grave sites!
Today's kids will tell you they don't respect anyone who does not respect them. What?! When I was growing up I was taught you respect your elders. ALL of them. It did not matter if you agreed with them or even liked them, or if they were complete strangers! If they were older than me, I was to show them respect. And I wasn't even raised in a Christian home.
Sure, some of the respect given was out of fear. Fear of either what someone else's parents may do to you, or worse, what your parents would do to you if they found out you were disrespectful. I don't ever remember being at a friends home and not respecting their parents. Ever! I knew when I was in their house, they were my acting parents. I expect the same now in my home. I even tell all the kids that come over, when they are with me, I am their mom and they will do what I tell them to. Well, let's just say this is not working out so well for me.
If you have read any of my past columns here, or read my blog, you probably already know my son has a respect issue. So far not with anyone else but me, but he still has one. I have also banned two of his friends from our house. I can't ban my own children but if any of their friends try to pull the "You're not my mom" card with me, they will not win that hand. The Bible says "Honor your father and your mother". It's one of the ten commandments! So how did we get so far away from this? When did it happen? How is it some athletes can gain a child's respect but a self sacrificing parent can not?
Why do we allow athletes and celebrities special treatment? For being talented or pretty? I think my doctor is pretty talented but I've never heard about him on the news. I doubt he can get a table at a nice restaurant without a reservation simply by showing up.
Parenting a teenager is nothing new under the sun, but it is new to me. Lack of respect is not a new phenomenon. The prophet Elisha was shown a lack of respect when a group of young people mocked him. "Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, "Go up you bald-head! Go up you bald-head!" (2 Kings 2:23 NKJV) Not only were they disrespecting authority, but they were mocking God's prophet. They in turn were disrespecting God Himself.
If you keep reading in verse 24, two female bears came out and mauled the youths. I wonder if that's where the term "mama bear" came from. It makes me laugh that it specifically says female bears and not just bears. I growl at the kids like a bear some times but I am not near as intimidating. Now, if this was going on back in Elisha's time, why does it seem more prevalent now? Are we paying more attention? No, I don't think so. I think lack of respect has gotten so out of hand you just can't help but notice.
Let's go back to earning respect. Yes I will agree there are a lot of bad adults out there who should not have our children's respect simply because they have the elder factor. I get that. I think teaching our children how to walk away from bad influences or situations without being rude, is just as important as teaching them how to be respectful. Now I don't quite know where I went wrong in the respect for mother category, but I can say my teen has respect for other people's property. Not so much for his own stuff, but if he borrows something from others he will treat it well.
This brings up another frustrating issue. Why do inanimate objects get respect? Cars, boats, shoes...? Yes I have heard "Respect the Nike's." Are you kidding me? How about "Respect the person who just gave the clerk an arm and a leg to put those Nike's on your feet!" Sorry, am I ranting? It has been a week where lack of respect has been on my brain.
I wonder if single parents get less respect from their children than married parents do. There's a survey I haven't seen done before. Is respect not modeled enough in our society for young people to emulate? We need to respect each other as persons created by God. He told us to love one another. Isn't respect a form of love?
"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another" (Romans 12:10 NKJV).