Had an interesting conversation with a group of our kids the other day. We were talking about respect. I suggested that we don’t treat people with respect because they deserve it or if they deserve it, but because we want to be the kind of people who act respectfully.
Several of them shared stories of biological, adoptive, or foster parents requiring respect of them. It was usually put in terms of “You have to respect your elders. I’ll respect you in return when you earn it.”
This took me back to thoughts that have been slurrying through my head lately: once upon a team (for quite a few years, actually) I thought that adults, simply because they were adults, had their acts together.
Now that you are through laughing about that, we (adults) do NOT always have our acts together! Therefore, I think, while “respect your elders” is a worthwhile concept, I cannot in good conscience command respect from a young person if I don’t or won’t treat them with respect.
I learned this several years ago now, in talking a youth through treating his dad respectfully. I had, in several conversations, encouraged the youth to respect his dad because everyone deserves respect. From what the young man told me, and from what I knew otherwise, this was not necessarily true.
So, I changed my tune. I advised him to treat his dad respectfully because that is the kind of person he (the youth) wanted to be: one who treats others respectfully.
Go, and do likewise.