Like many of you, I find myself inspired by the recent parenting seminar we had. The Discipleship Team put on a great event featuring the parenting instruction of Dr. Kevin Leman. It was a day filled with humor, reflection, and prayer aimed at pointing our parenting compasses closer to Christ.
That got me thinking: what are the key qualities that we want our families to show to each other and the world? I’m sure if we all took a few minutes and reflected on this that we could compile quite a list. Scripture itself is replete with lists of virtues and commands to exhibit godly characteristics. Paul himself wrote, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16a). Indulge me as I take the next few months and examine a couple themes that I think we would all like our families to embody.
In a world of chaos, (particularly for me as a man,) is there anything that feels more fulfilling and encouraging than to be respected? To have someone verbally or emotionally support an idea or decision I make means the world to me. And I don’t think I’m alone.
Our world is out of control. If there is any doubt, consider the fact that odds are either Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton will be our next president. Our world is beyond reason. Unbelievable! There is so much we have so little control over, so for a family member to show respect for our opinion is really significant.
We naturally focus (like I just did) on how we want respect to come back at us. And yes, children should certainly respect their parents. We should not tolerate otherwise for our good and theirs. But also consider the significance of showing respect for your kids and spouse. I’ve worked with kids long enough to know that when they feel heard and respected, they open like flowers before you. It requires a special maturity to allow kids and teens to be themselves. OF COURSE their opinions are going to be off the wall, goofy, and just plain wrong. But if you want a chance to shape that will and stay on good terms, try showing respect.
Respect isn’t about letting others have their way all the time, but it is about having an underlying belief that all people deserve kindness and are valuable—even when you disagree. Whether we’re dealing with a creative six-year-old or a weary grandparent, “in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3b).