What we did: Teaching respect

When they are young

It is a sad day when the young are taught to do as they desire and not trained to respect. Teaching respect is the parents' duty. Children are too young to teach themselves.

For example, when my children were young, I put my arms around them and said, "Let's go to Grandma's today." They were happy, and we went for a visit. While there, I noticed that my little one sat in Grandmother's chair. I said, "No, honey, that is Grandmother's chair." Another day my husband took the children to see Grandmother, and he sat in Grandmother's chair. The little one said, "No, Daddy." The child reminded Daddy that was Grandmother's chair.

Another time I was going to take a ride. I had my son and sister with me. My son ran to the car and sat in the front seat. I said, "No, you get in back, and don't climb over. Get out and hold the door open for a lady always." He did just that! I was proud of him and told him so.

When they are young is the training time. — Twilla Newbury, Springville, Utah

Be examples

My wife and I are the parents of 10 children. The oldest is 23 and the youngest is 5. Our children are not perfect, and we have faced our share of challenges. However, even in their stormy teenage years, our children have not been disrespectful in the way they speak to their parents. They do not yell; they do not use mean or hateful words, and they do not make threats.

We attribute this to the way my wife and I have treated each other. When speaking to, or about, each other, we do not use any unkind words or even an inappropriate tone of voice. Our children know that they are expected to act the same way. — Bryn R. Johnson, Mesa, Ariz.

Prayed about it

One of our teenage sons had little or no respect for the type of discipline often given by his father, which was reflected in a growing lack of respect for his father. On one such occasion, while standing at his bedroom open door at the bottom of the stairs, he told his father at the top of the stairs that his method of discipline was the worst kind there is, that it was wrong. The son insisted on a whipping instead of a grounding, stating that the whipping would be over in a few minutes, and he could forget it. But his father explained that giving his son a whipping would be more of a punishment to the father, and, in addition, the grounding was related to the problem. Since his son claimed that his father did not receive that type of discipline from the Lord, the father asked his son if he would please step into the son's bedroom, kneel down and ask the Lord about it.

The father waited patiently for some time, and when his son appeared again at the door, the father asked the son if he had asked the Lord. The son replied that he had. "Did you get an answer?" "Yes," replied the son in a humbled, respectful manner and added that he did not know about the type of discipline coming from the Lord or not, but he did know that he was to obey and accept that discipline from his father. The humbled son after that not only showed respect for discipline, but also more respect for his father. — L. LaMar Adams, Honolulu, Hawaii

Respect yourself

Having taught junior high school in East Los Angeles, I have strong feelings about the need for teaching young people respect. I found it was impossible to teach the academics to these wonderful children without at first teaching and gaining their respect.

I have a family of 12 children, and my wife and I have striven to teach our children respect. For this article, I polled some of my children about the ways they learned respect. The following represents the input of parents and children:

Be respectable. We need to earn the respect of children, whether our own children or others. We must earn our titles, be they Mr. or Daddy.

Treat the youth with respect and set an appropriate model of showing respect. This does not mean we have to go without disciplining youth. But we must do it in a way that reflects the fact that they are children of God, entrusted to our care.

Respect yourself. We cannot teach what we have not learned. By respecting ourselves, we gain a sense of confidence that allows us to not only model what we are teaching, but also instill in our youth the same sense of worth that will result in respect toward others.

Actively teach the rudiments of respect. This includes how to address their elders respectfully, whether in or out of the Church. In our home, we have tried hard to make sure our children do not address adults by their first name, but rather by Sister or Brother.

Respect each other as husband and wife. Yes, the children are watching and listening, making notes that will help define their sense of respect.

Finally, show respect for the Lord in your home, in the manner in which you talk about Him and in the way you address Him in prayer. Thee, Thou, etc., is the appropriate manner of speaking whether to or about the Lord. Also, use the Lord's respect of people as an excellent model.

— Steve Toy, Shelley, Idaho

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