Teaching Respect

My grandfather, Samuel Gilmore, was an amazing man. I can’t count the number of lessons I learned from. His family was central in his life. He even retired early so that he could spend more time with his wife who had serious health issues. Grandpa Sam was always supportive and giving and he is my hero.
Grandpa with Cheryl and I in Florida (left), my mom Jean (right
When I was about 14, we were visiting my grandparents. They had a miniature pool table that I loved to play. As I was playing one night, my mother announced it was time to go and I said something to the effect of “one minute, I need to finish my game.” I’m sure my tone was impatient or sharp.
 
It could have been either the words I said or my tone, but my grandfather grabbed my wrist and sternly said “When your mother says it’s time to go, it’s time to go.” I had never seen him angry, least of all angry with me. I could only sheepishly say “Yes sir.” I turned from my game and went out the door with my mom.
 
I don’t remember much about what happened before or after that visit. The only thing I do remember is my grandfather being angry that I had been disrespectful to my mother and that I had disappointed him.
 
That incident has stuck with me over the years. Every time I think about respect, I think back to that moment. And every time I see my children disrespect their mother, I feel the need to teach them the same lesson I learned.
Grandpa with his twins, Mom and Aunt Janet
It can be difficult to teach children respect. It can also be difficult to control your emotions when your children disrespect their mother. I know I take many deep breaths before I can teach respect. It doesn’t do any good to go into the discussion angry, at least that’s the lesson I’ve learned over the years. So how do we teach our children respect for their mother?
 
Remind the child who their mother is. Take time to remind the child about all the wonderful things that his/her mother does. Talk about the times spent talking, reading books, running them to activities and how much she loves them.
 
Explain to the child what disrespect is. Help the child understand what was disrespectful about their behavior. Then work with the child to determine a better way to handle the situation. For instance, in my story above if I had asked my mother if it was okay to finish the game, there could have been a different outcome.
Jan, Dad (Norm), Cheryl, me, Jean, Grandpa at our ring ceremony
Develop a Relationship. Had my grandfather not spent time with me, loved me, and worked on a relationship with me, I might not have learned the lesson he tried to teach me. I might have reacted angrily or ignored him. When we develop good strong relationships with our children, we create an environment that fosters teaching. If we have not developed that relationship, our words may have no effect.
 
Help the child see the need to ask forgiveness. This can be difficult. A lot of times the child will not want to ask to be forgiven. However, asking for forgiveness allows the child and his/her mother get back to a place of respect and love.
The above are just some ideas on how we can teach our children respect. What are some ways that you teach yours?

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