Teaching Respect and Positive Parenting

A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.

Billy Graham

I often hear the word respect thrown around as if one is entitled to something. The sad fact is that 99.9% of the time I hear this term used, it is entirely out of the context of its definition. When I see this divergence at play, I realize it is only the immature aspects of the spirit trying to find its psychological grounding. However, as we know, respect is “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements” (Oxford Languages). We must be careful of what abilities, qualities, or achievements we promote within the psyche as deserving respect. 

When I hear this word flung around so carelessly, I cannot help but notice that it frequently comes from immature sources. Whatever the internal or external factors that create this immediate need for respect, I also see this same level of maturity seeping through the cracks in every moral facet of society. 

But what can we do? 

I went on a tangent here. Why make a video about ocean trash and immaturity and then link it to the beautiful words of wisdom provided by America’s pastor Billy Graham? There is a moral here, and it is not pointing fingers at any one thing. Instead, it is a guidepost for grounded action to take place. Just imagine what conflicts the next generation will face when its story does not have the loving presence of a caring parent or God to take shelter within. What aspects of hope would we miss, and to what degree would disrespect set within a world absent of love or acts of kindness? 

It all starts at home, my friends. As Mother Teresa said, 

And so, my prayer for you is that truth will bring prayer in our homes, and from the foot of prayer will be that we believe that in the poor it is Christ. And we will really believe, we will begin to love. And we will love naturally, we will try to do something. First in our own home, next door neighbor in the country we live, in the whole world.

(Nobel Peace Prize transcript)

Can you see the interconnected layers between an individual’s capacity to love themselves and their family and how these forms of fundamental love move to higher states of social interconnectedness? Yes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If we love naturally, we must start with ourselves and move on to our home. If we start with this, we won’t create such a weakness in society’s moral and social fabric. 

Respect is a foundation taught by parents to children. So is fear. These two terms can be confused, especially in more chaotic circumstances. Go home and love those in your home. Forget the world for one minute; look into a mirror and see who is in front of you. If you can’t love the person who stares back at you, how can you ever have a love for others when you have no connectedness with yourself? In starting here, we can give the greatest gift possible. We can show our children that harnessing a sense of self-esteem from within is possible. What better gift can you give your child ever receive than the ability to love themselves for who they are so that respect for others can radiate from within this internal state? 

We only get one chance to raise our children right. Let us get it right the first time… if not, refer back to the first sentence of this paragraph. 

May blessings find you, my fellow co-parents and friends, on your adventures to advance confidently in the direction of your dreams. 

More from Dr. Tom

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