How Does our Family Show Respect?
The shift from July to August always seems a surprise. As we approach that summer finish line, it can be daunting that the time has passed so quickly and a new school year is on the horizon. This time may bring a greater appreciation of the relaxing, unstructured days of summer. You may be holding dearly to the last days before the children move on in their school career or instead find yourself eager to plan for the year ahead! In either case, this upcoming transition provides an opportunity for reflection and perhaps the chance to be mindful about the interactions we have as families.
This month, as we jump into the virtue of Respect, we may want to begin asking ourselves reflective questions about the past and the future. What has our family accomplished so far this year? How do we treat each family member with dignity and give them purpose for their place in the family? Are there ways that we can make our family lives even more fruitful as the new school year routine takes hold?
Generally, the virtue of Respect can be described as “recognizing the worth and dignity of every single human being.” But from there, we can break this virtue down into even smaller pieces.
Admiration for a person’s qualities or abilities
Showing courtesy to another person, or respecting the office they hold (for example: your boss or your mom)
Chances are that we all approach the virtue of Respect differently. Some may be great at showing courtesy to others but forget to respect ourselves. Or we could naturally celebrate the admirable qualities of others but neglect to show respect to those who have authority over us. All of us have natural tendencies that cause us to react differently. Ultimately, children are prone to mimicking their parents’ behavior. It’s possible that the ways you lack respect for yourself and others is reflected in your children’s actions and this can cause unrest in the family.
So in addition to printing out the school supply list and arranging final vacations, it may also be a valuable time to consider our interactions as a family. Begin asking the questions that can lead the family to greater peace and unity as we take on those busy school year schedules. Here are some questions you may want to consider:
How do I admire my children’s qualities and abilities?
Do I encourage my children’s strengths and promote their achievements?
Do I support my spouse in their decisions?
As a family, do we celebrate the uniqueness of each individual?
Does everyone in the family feel heard and appreciated?
Can we create a more inviting environment for the family to express their thoughts and feelings?
Do I feel respected as a parent?
Do I treat myself with the respect I deserve?
How can I prioritize self-care? (Remember if you don’t show yourself respect, your kids may learn to lack respect for themselves as well.)
Do I show respect to those who have authority over me?
Do I treat each person, even those who seem insignificant, with courtesy and dignity?
Are there times when I could be kinder or more patient with others?
Aly began working with Families of Character in 2017. Her and her husband have seen the value of intentionally growing in character in their own marriage. Now they are excited to pass on what they've learned with their expected son!