The family is the incubator of attitudes that children carry throughout their lives. Respect for others begins with respect for family members.

Don’t Dismiss, Discuss

Condescending language and attitudes should never be a part of conversations, and dismissing another’s viewpoint without at least hearing them out creates resentment. Even if the discussion veers into a plea to do something immoral and the final parental word is “Because I said so,” explanations should be measured and firm when necessary but never in a condescending way. Although there are times when a discussion becomes unreasonable and passionate, and although a reasoned, logical approach has been stated, the discussion should never deteriorate into name-calling and vitriolic language.

In family discussions children learn how to carry on a conversation by listening to others. Of course, parents must model this. Husbands and wives must work out their differences. Though discussions can turn into arguments when particular issues delve into hot-button topics, parents must demonstrate respect for one another’s viewpoint, and not just for the sake of the children. Husbands and wives must respect one another, and when the relationship is maintained even after a difficult discussion, it’s because respect has triumphed. By watching their parents children learn to work things out in discussions rather than yelling matches.

Husband/Wife Respect

Respect begins with husbands and wives. In the New Testament, husbands are to honor their wives (1 Peter 3:7), and wives are to show respect for their husbands (Eph.5:33). One of the best things a husband can do for his children is to love their mother. Both boys and girls benefit from seeing this mutual respect. Parents establish a template for the relationship between a man and woman. Boys and girls not only learn to respect members of the opposite sex, but they also learn how they should be treated by the opposite sex.

The key in this relationship is what Peter tells the husbands: treat your wives “as co-heirs of the grace life.” Critics sometime degrade Christianity for not elevating the status of women, but when they are considered coheirs, there is nothing about that which puts them in an inferior position. Not only that but the one flesh arrangement (Genesis and Ephesians) of marriage depends on both people seeing each other as sacred creations of God.

Honor Everyone

When the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:10 told the early church to “outdo one another in showing honor,” he set an important precedent for human relationships. According to Webster’s dictionary to honor someone is to show respect. If “love your neighbor as yourself” is not enough, we are called to honor and respect others. Respect everyone in the home, and respect will be a way of life outside the home.

© 2024 Robert T. Weber, The Lazarus Chronicles and Words Done Right LLC

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