TEACHING KIDS TO RESPECT AUTHORITY (PART TWO)
Remember, the process for training up a child to learn respect begins with you, “the parent.” Set the example for your child. You as the Parent have a duty to God and to your children to instruct them in the reasons for being respectful, study (Proverbs 1:8; 4:1; 6:20; Ephesians 6:1-4). These verses should enlighten your mind on what God wants us to know about the proper role we play in raising our children to have and show respect for authority.
These principles equip your children for success in life and prepare them to assume their place in the kingdom. You as a Parent do more harm to your children by not instructing and re-enforcing these truths (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).
Your child mimics what you do — if your child sees you yelling, cursing, interrupting or being sarcastic, your child believes this behavior is natural, explains Dr. Robyn Silverman, child and teen development expert. If you want your child to respect you, teach him or her how to do so. If you want your child to have respected you and other authority figures you must give respect to your child. This means you support your child and his or her feelings. Acknowledge your child’s feelings, and refrain from saying anything negative that can hurt your child. Respect is a two-way street. Just because you are an authoritative figure doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect your child. Your child is a person too.
Let us be mindful that when God commands us to respect certain individuals it is assumed they are respectable. One of the difficult lessons to learn in life is that we are sometimes disappointed by those whom we have come to respect. Parents sin (Colossians 3:21); elders digress (1 Timothy 5:19-20); governments become corrupt (Psalms 9:17); men become wicked (2 Timothy 3:13). In times like these, we remember that the honor we give others, even the undeserving, is a reflection of the esteem with which we hold Christ (Ephesians 6:5-7).
Sometimes the young demand respect for themselves. They are certainly entitled to the same honor which others receive (I Peter 2:17). However, the same assumptions hold for them as well, those honored are honorable and the respected are respectable. Paul admonished Timothy to let no man despise his youth (I Timothy 4:12). In order to accomplish that task Paul urged him to be an example in all areas of life. If we want to be respected we must learn it and earn it.
Now let us look at one of the most common and misunderstood ways that a child shows lack of respect for adults, it is by interrupting adult conversations. For me as a child, this was truly a no, no. However, this is often done when a child continuously pulls on their Mother’s arm while saying, “Mommie, Mommie, Mommie, Mommie, Mommie,” repeatedly until Mommie gives the child her undivided attention. The child has demanded priority over the adult with whom her mother was speaking, and in essence has said, “Me first! I’m more important than you are!” The tragedy is that most parents are oblivious to this very prevalent way of showing disrespect to adults, and they will generally acknowledge the child immediately, even doing so when their adult friend is in mid-sentence.
A child who has something to say to parents who are engaged in conversation should be trained to come and stand quietly beside his or her parent, making sure that his or her parent sees them. At an appropriate time after the other party has completed a thought, the parent can say, “Excuse me one moment,” and turn and acknowledge the child, who has been waiting patiently. After answering the child’s question, the adult conversation can be resumed. The child’s concern has been addressed, but at the parents discretion, not the child’s.
When adults are engaged in conversation in the presence of children (for instance, at dinner), the children should not dominate or dictate the direction of the conversation. The way another generation expressed this thought was, “Children should be seen and not heard.” It is not that children should not speak at all, but that they should not think that they have equal status around the dinner table with the adults. Sitting quietly and learning to listen while at the dinner table is a key ingredient to a Childs ability to learn respect and proper communication with other adult figures. Many children, if not taught respect by their parents, will actually dominate the conversation, making it impossible for the parents and guests to have an adult discussion.
Children should be taught to sit quietly and respond enthusiastically when spoken to, or when an adult shows an interest in them or their activities. They should be spirited responders, and not initiators, when adults are present.
We must always know our place and keep in mind, that we are the adults in the room, and we are either going to be the teacher are we are going to be taught by our children. If we are Godly parents, we know that we must always remain in the will of God and be obedient to the word of God, knowing that everything we do our children is watching and learning from us. A key ingredient to just how our children learn respect is through observation. They learn how to honor their parents by observing how their parents honor one another (Ephesians 5:28, 29), and by seeing how their parents treat their grandparents (1 Timothy 5:4; Matthew 15:6). They learn how to honor government by observing how their parents respect the law (I Peter 2:13-15; Luke 20:25; I Timothy 2:1-2). They learn how to honor their employers by observing how their parents honor theirs (Ephesians 4:28; 6:6-7; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). And, they learn to honor God by observing their parents do the same (Matthew 6:33).
Know this one truth, and that is God will always have the last word on how respect and honor works in our daily lives. In (Ephesians 6:2-4 AMP) the word says this, “Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother–this is the first commandment with a promise–That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.
Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord. This honor is due because parents have sacrificed so much for their children. They are the guides, the providers and protectors of their offspring. Their love and sacrifice should command our respect; this is why God says, “It is right.”
The aged are worthy of our respect (Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 20:29). However, it is again assumed that they command that respect by their character (Proverbs 16:31;Job 32:9). The aged have attained wisdom through their experiences and spirituality (Job 12:12). Their lives have been a blessing to their families and communities because of their accomplishments. Their posterity is indebted to them for their accomplishments. We do stand on the shoulders of giants.
Now in conclusion let me leave you with this final perspective, why has this become such a problem in the 21st century? I submit to you that this should not come as a surprise to you because we have a generation of kids raising kids. With our economy in the shape that it is in and both parents having to leave home for work just to make ends meet, we have turn over the raising of our children to the T.V. and video games. Drugs and Alcoholic has invaded our communities and the drug addictions and early death rate of so many of our youth are causing grandparents and great grand parents to become parents to their grand children at a time when they are ill equipped to do so. The children have already grown up with a bad attitude of disrespect for the adults and the authority figures that now must care for them.
While it is unfortunate, it is nevertheless often necessary to apply correction. A failure to do this when it is called for encourages further disrespect (Ecclesiastes 8:11). For this reason then, God has allowed for government to punish evildoers (Romans 13:2, 4), the church to correct the unrepentant (Titus 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6), and parents to discipline their children (Proverbs 13:24).
Let me assure you, this is not the final word on this subject by no means; I will speak more on this subject again soon. It is a subject that has many view points. In my next message I will have others to share their views on this subject until we all get a complete picture on what and how to deal effective with this matter. If you have a point of view that you would like to share, please email it to me and I will consider it in my next lesson on this subject. I leave you with my peace, that you may enjoy the benefits of God’s grace and mercy. I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.