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How To Cultivate Kids Who Show Respect

In our postmodern world, absolutes are conditional at best. The grey areas have expanded so far that it’s hard to even find black or white anymore. So how do we train our children to understand and exercise righteous standards in their daily lives? Standards like respect.

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My parents taught me that respect was an absolute not to be compromised. Did you catch that? My parents taught me—and as parents today, we must continue to be intentional in teaching our children. It’s our responsibility and Scripture holds us accountable to do it.

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Jesus called this the most important commandment and followed that by saying that loving our neighbors was the next greatest! Love flows from respect. If we love the Lord God with all our hearts and souls and strength, then we’ll also love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31).

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You model respect for your children when you hold the door for the person coming behind you, when you call your elderly neighbor to check on them because you haven’t seen them that day, and when you explain that the teacher was right to move their color card for speaking out of turn or drifting away from the line walking from their class to the playground.

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Respect isn’t taught unless you demonstrate it. Children need to see it in action. The old saying that “you’ve got to walk what you talk” is central to instilling respect in this generation. Your children will replicate your actions and behaviors, and even your attitudes. Be mindful that little eyes are watching, little ears are hearing, and little feet are walking the path you lead them on every day.

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Talk about respect with your family. Tie it as a symbol on your hands. Write it on your doorframes (maybe these are digital these days instead of physical?). Model respect so your children remember the time you stopped to thank a soldier or to put the grocery cart where it belongs (not just loose in the parking lot) or to ask your spouse what help they need today. Your children are watching and learning from you. Let’s live out Scriptural principles in our lives that can be a firm foundation for them as they grow into adults!

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Tammy Hoskins

All stories by: Tammy Hoskins