Friday, October 25, 2013

The Lost Habit of Respect

R-E-S-P-E-C-T... Find out What it Means to Me

Now you are singing along with Aretha. You're welcome. Working with teenagers and young adults is one of my all time favorite things to do. My husband and I are honored to be able to impact young lives on a daily basis. I continue to learn from them and love how they are constantly emerging into the young men and women they were created to be.

However, I am starting to feel as though I have somewhat failed young people in a few areas. One of them being the habit of Respect. Not very long ago, when I was growing up, respect and knowing the proper way to address and respond to others were very important. We even attended etiquette classes that reenforced what we were learning in our homes - the right way, and the wrong way, to act. Social media perhaps has jaded the rising generations in that they are less afraid of being perceived as "rude" because they are behind the safety of a computer or phone screen. Things are said over text and social media that may never be said to someone's face. Or sadly, perhaps they would? 

There is a sense of entitlement within rising generations unlike anything I have ever seen. It says. Because I exist, I deserve... your respect, whatever job I want, to be lazy, to speak my mind without caring about consequences... and so on. 

"...The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.” - Charles Swindoll

How we respond to others speaks volumes about our character. Whether it be peers, leaders, friends...whatever, it is important to know that the attitude with which respond to others, will certainly effect the way people see us and the responsibilities/positions they are willing to entrust us with.

If I am called into a meeting with a supervisor and am told that I need improvement in a certain area, or they offer guidance in how they believe I should conduct myself because I represent their company (whether I agree or not is another story entirely) and instead of heeding their advice, I list off what I believe to be wrong with what they've said, telling my supervisor that I essentially don't care what they say, or the impact my actions and words have on others, because I am going to do and say what I like... Guess what will happen???? My disrespectful attitude and response is gonna get my tail fired. 

Proverbs 15:1-2 says A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. 

I want to deflect anger. I want to be wise. I want my children to be wise....

This morning Chip and I had a teaching moment with our son on the "right" way to respond versus the "wrong" way. Instead of screaming or crying and losing privileges, we taught him that it would be WISE for him to take a breath and simply explain to us what is happening. I want my children to treat their peers, and especially adults and those in leadership over them with the utmost respect. I never want them to react to parents, teachers, supervisors, or pastors in rudeness. I don't expect them to agree with everything their leaders say, but I expect my children to always react in a respectful manner, because that is what they have been taught. My children are amazing, but they aren't entitled to anything, aside from my love, simply because they exist. And because I love them, I will teach them how to respond to people early on so they can carry a sense of respect and dignity with them all throughout their lives. 

Can we please change this epidemic of disrespect? Can we as parents and grandparents be more intentional than ever in teaching our children and grandchildren that their attitude and the way they react is 100% under their control? Can we teach them that it is important to respect others, even if they disagree? 

Young people... will you commit to being the change your generations needs you to be? Raise the bar. Set it high. Break the stereotype... instead of the generation of entitlement, be the generation of kindness and respect. 

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