Everyone wants respect! If there is anything in the world that you have to earn on your own, respect may be at the top of the list. A strange conundrum about respect is the fact that you don’t “try” to get it, nor can you ask for it. Respect comes to you through unselfish acts, wisdom, trust, and love for people.
The word respect can also mean fear of something, like the power of the ocean or the violence of a thunderstorm. But let me be clear,
Being respected is a key aspect of being an effective parent. You can be loved and still not be respected. You can be smart, but not kind enough to command respect. You can be strong, but you cannot force someone to respect you. No, respect comes from loving, but with rules and consistency. Respect comes with being smart about the decisions you make – decisions which are for the greater good, not just yours. Respect comes with strength, the strength of an honest and giving character.
When a child is too young or immature, it is often the respect they have for their parents, alone, that will stop them from making a bad decision. A boy pressured into vandalism or a girl pressured into sex may give in to it without the lessons taught to them by respected parents.
A friend of mine told me the story of three older boys who often made bad choices. However, they went to a criminal level one night when planning to rob a convenience store. As the boys planned the holdup, it became more and more real. One of the boys, who had a decent relationship with his father, felt very uncomfortable. He had strayed a bit in his choice to be involved with these two minor league hustlers, but this young man could not stand the thought of disappointing his Dad. He told his two friends that he would not participate because if caught, he would be letting his Dad down tremendously. Now, I still have a problem with the boy not making this decision using his own morality, but nonetheless, he didn’t participate.
The other two boys went forth with their plans and robbed the store. As it turned out, they were caught and their lives were essentially put on hold if not ruined altogether! The father of the third boy heard of the arrest of his son’s friends and was secretly stunned that his son was able to stay uninvolved. Little did he know it was the respect his son had for him that saved his son that day.
Dads, you will be respected by your children if you:
- Have principles that you live by
- Do what you say you will do
- Are there for your kids when they need you
- Have rules and are consistent with those rules
Now go and be a great dad!