Tag Archives: respect

To My Children (and any others who will hear me out), 

I know you get tired of it. I get on to you for any disrespect I observe. If I catch you treating others unkindly I call you on it. You're not allowed to say you hate someone or openly claim yourself better than someone else without a lengthy lecture on humility and love. 

I know you must get extra tired of the times you have to listen to one of my speeches because I read something on the news about another kid who has decided to exercise their freedom of speech in a most ill-mannered way. I halfheartedly apologize for those lectures. I realize it sounds like I'm getting on to you. 

Instead, I'm frantically making sure I've taught you, that regardless of your feelings and beliefs, there's a right way to act and a wrong way to respond to things you believe are wrong in this world. 

Recently, I read about a young girl who had knowingly and intentionally disregarded the dress code at her school by wearing a spaghetti strap tank top. The school clearly prohibited thin-strapped tank tops. The dress code also banned distracting apparel for both boys and girls. The girl's response to her being asked to change clothes, for breaking dress code, was to wear another tank top the next day with Sharpie marker-decorated arms which expressed, "I am not a distraction". She became an overnight news hero. 

The message I heard? 

Hey kids! Don't like a rule? Disregard it. And when you're called on it? Break the rule in a more dramatic fashion. Because everybody knows respect is: 

1. ALL about esteeming yourself and those who think like you

2. Earned by showing disregard for something you don't like or you think is unfair

Are tank tops of the devil? Nope. Neither are rules that cramp your fashion style. So you disagree with the dress code. Write the school board a letter. Ask to attend a meeting. There's a right way to seek change. 

On a different note, but similar tune...Today I read about the walkout at the Notre Dame commencement. The university dared invite a speaker that held different beliefs than many that graduated; Vice President, Mike Pence. 

Knowing that Pence would be speaking, dozens of graduates showed up and then followed through on a plan to disrupt the ceremony; a ceremony that other graduates likely would have preferred enjoy without a justice march.  

Despising Pence for what he stands for is perfectly fine. Standing up for what you believe is also applaud worthy. But those who support such a walkout should ask themselves these questions. 

  1. Aren't you for tolerance? (Or must only your own views be tolerated?)
  2. Haven't you said that we should love each other, Love Wins? (Or is love only something we practice on people who believe like us?) 

We don't have to agree on the quality person Pence is. I believe in free speech. It's a real thing, but as believers we are to use that freedom wisely. 

For the record, I don't believe that uncivil behavior accomplishes anything of value. 

In 2009, President Obama was chosen as Notre Dame's commencement speaker. Like with Pence, there were students who strongly disagreed with Obama's values. Instead of making a mockery of a much looked-forward-to graduation, fifty students held a prayer vigil on campus. 

I get it. It's hard to show respect to someone you don't believe deserves it. Do the hard thing. That is what's really courageous. When you show someone disrespect, you don't so much highlight that person's deficits as much as you reveal your own lack of moral compass. 

There's a right way to disagree. Being disrespectful isn't it. 

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...

1 Peter 3:15


In a nutshell:

I think this has always been a topic where maybe I disagree with the majority.  I've never been one to believe that respect must be earned. It should be earned! But even if you feel respect toward someone has not been merited, a person of character will show respect anyway because they are a respectful person. I don't think a lot of people earned respect from Jesus but he showed respect toward people.
Respect can be a Christlike gift of grace and goodness to those who aren't like us and don't behave like us. 

Which brings us to the next problem. None of us have ever been awesome at being Christlike, but when we cease to attempt to love like him we cease to really love at all. 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

respect: to treat or deal with (something that is good or valuable) in a proper way 

And as you wish others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31

I remember clearly one of the last nails in the coffin of my full-time teaching profession. My second grade class had just returned from PE. 

Coach ordered two of the boys to sit out at recess. According to the coach, boy #1 was scooping sand between his legs while standing. Some sand hit boy #2 in the face. Boy #2 proceeded to spit in boy #1's face. When the time came to sit out, boy #2, the spitter, refused to sit out.

 I suggested we call home to share this news with his parents. This ended up being one of the worst ideas I've had to date.  His dad answered the phone. I quickly shared what had transpired and how coach had requested he (and "the sand thrower") have some time to sit out at recess. I shared his refusal to sit out.  His dad answered with a profanity-laced rant affirming that his kid would not be sitting out because 'if he had in fact spit in someone's face, he had a perfectly good reason'. 

I have since then witnessed kids telling teachers "they don't have to!" and kids crawling under desks or tables or running around when an adult has told them to get in their seat. My own kid recently shared they didn't understand why they needed to say "yes ma'am" when answering a question. 

Let me say that I love kids. I love their spontaneity and spunk. I love to listen to their stories that have unexpected twists and turns. I admire their honesty even when it's at the expense of me and my new hairdo. 

But kids in general are less respectful these days.   Kids are a product of what they're taught, but moreso of what is modeled. 


And let's face it. The "Father of the spitter" isn't the only parent not adequately modeling respect. 

We're too busy to be respectful. 

Myself included, we're busy people...... Too busy to take the time to assign value to people. So we rush, letting the door close on the elderly gentleman slowly shuffling behind us.  We cut someone off  in traffic (Oops! Sorry.) because we have somewhere we have to get. We avoid the church member in Academy because we don't have time for conversation. We ask and answer the question "How are you?" disenigenously without giving the person we pass the time of day.  

We're too distracted. 

iPads, iPhones and hand-held gaming devices keep us from making eye contact with people when we're having conversation (if we're having conversation). I'm guilty of this. 

We're too frustrated to be respectful. 

Facebook frustrates me. I still have an obsession with reading the news which is often slanted. Worse, I read the comments which are written by people who are talented at being vulgar and hateful. I show restraint by not typing my comment, but instead share my response to whatever family member is closest by.  It's usually not nice. I'd say it's not respectful. With my words I devalue the person who has spoken in ignorance or spite.

Maybe the person whose comment is my aim didn't hear what I said, but too often my kids witness my lack of respect. 

I'll shamingly share that I've openly vented about teachers (or on one occasion a coach) in front of my kids.  A coach had called Hayden a  name on the court loud enough for me to hear. I unleashed my fury in the car. Rylie, who was four at the time, chimed in from the backseat: 

"Ok guys, on the count of three say it with me.  Let's ruin coach's life!"

Not respectful. 

And here's the biggie-

We don't show respect because people don't "deserve"our respect. 

(People like that coach)

We seem to hold the idea today that respect MUST be earned. Foolish people don't deserve it. Unfair people aren't worthy of it nor those we deem ignorant.  

It's easier to show respect 

- to individuals who make us feel good about ourselves  (We totally respect people who give us compliments.) 

-when we're not challenged (It's much easier to show respect to people who share our beliefs than it is to people who ruffle our feathers) I find it easier to respect people who are pro-life and people who are against legalizing marijuana. 

-to those who have built-in status (like the mayor or military personnel or people in positions we admire) 

-on a good day  (When we're having "a bad day" neither our husband who forgot to pick up his socks, nor the innocent cashier at Burger King who isn't responsible for the onions we found on our burger is deemed worthy of our respect.)

Respect doesn't have to be earned. We are people of grace. 

Showing respect is a behavior more than a feeling. 

Showing respect has more to do with the one offering respect than it does the recipient. 

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers... 1 Peter 2:17

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness. Titus 2:7

We can show consideration to those who lack integrity. We can still behave respectfully  when someone has hurt us or (this is hard to swallow) when they have hurt our children. 

This means we respectfully act , respectfully respond and, when necessary, we respectfully disagree.

 And we can teach our children to do the same, doing our part to create future adults of integrity. 

Once again, I'm thankful for grace in my failings. 

Lord help me to extend grace (in the form of respect) to others. 

 Are you the perfect daughter?  Answer these questions honestly.  If you don't have, say a brother or sister, answer the brother/sister questions by answering how you think you would react.


When I’m asked to clean my room, I:

A.Ask if my brother has to clean his

B.Clean it halfway, stuffing things under the bed

C.They don’t have to ask, I keep it clean

D.I whine, then clean it

2When your mom asks you to change your shirt, you

A.Roll your eyes then change it

B.Ask why

C.Change your shirt immediately

D.Beg her to let you wear it

3Your sister tries to get you in trouble every day, you:

A.Finally decide not to talk to her anymore

B.Think about revenge

C.Pray first asking God’s help.  Then talk to your sister or mom about it.

D.Start telling on her for every little thing she does-see how she likes it

4You know your mom’s going to be upset because you made a really bad grade on your math paper, you:

A.Hide the paper

B.Remind her that grandma told you that your mom was really bad in math too

C.Tell her you’ll try to do better and mean it

D.Tell her how half the class did worse than you

5When your dad tells you to put the magazine away, you say:

A.It’s not a magazine

B.Ok. Just a minute.

C.Yes sir.

D.Why do I have to?  It’s not my bedtime.

6Your most common reaction to getting in trouble is to:

A.Roll your eyes


C.Think to yourself my parents probably know what they’re doing



7Mom feels bad.  You :

A.Use the time she’s napping to steal away extra TV time

B.Fight with your brother

C.Try and think of something you can do to help

D.Wake her up because you can’t find a snack

8Your dad has wrongly accused you of leaving your shoes in the yard, you:

A.Tell your mom he’s being unfair


C.Remember that everybody makes mistakes.  Pick up the shoes. Then you tell him that your sister borrowed them and left them outside.

D.Get them. Throw them in your room and pout.

9The thing you do concerning your brother/sister most often:



C.Pray for


Easy Score Scale:

All C’s-  You are the DAUGHTER OF THE YEAR!!!  I would love for you to come stay at my house for a week to tutor my kids.  But seriously, ALL C's?  Nobody's that good.

Not all C’s- You are like most precious daughters I know; you have room to improve.  Be thankful for your family.  Be forgiving.   Obey your parents even when you don’t agree.  Remember that arguing, eye-rolling, sighing, tattling and pouting are reactions that come easily and automatically.  Pray for God’s help when it is hard to be that loving sister or that respectful daughter that God has designed you to be.

Oh I wish I was there with you to see your answers.  Please let me know how you did!

One more thing!  -Don't forget to check out the Family Contract and Lovely List Family Project (to be posted soon)!! It will be under the QUIZZES AND QUESTIONS and DEVOTION POSTS categories.