My daughters and I went on a 15-mile bike ride today. During our ride, I noticed someone had spray-painted graffiti on the underside of a bridge.
We don’t have a lot graffiti in our small rural town, and when it does appear, it is usually covered up quickly (an excellent way, according to experts, to help prevent more graffiti).
The graffiti by the spray-paint “artists” brought to mind the destruction of property we are seeing on a daily basis in our country. Homes and businesses destroyed. Looters, people burning the property of others, and the list goes on.
When did we get to the point that it was all right to destroy the property, livelihoods, and lives of others?
When did it become all right to, just because we disagree with someone, their beliefs, or their actions, to outright deface, damage, destroy, or demolish their personal property? When did it become acceptable to ruin government property?
Property isn’t the only thing at risk. More disturbing is the general lack of disrespect for parents, other authority, older people, the handicapped, police officers, and people in general. If someone disagrees with someone, it no longer is enough to state your opinion calmly or courteously; there are now more damaging ways to make sure an opinion is heard. Injuring, harming, and even killing people no longer shocks us as much as it once did. We’ve become jaded to the horrific antics of those seeking revenge or acting in pettiness because something is not the way they want it.
Disrespect can stem from bad parenting, learned behavior, hatefulness, anger issues, etc. However, it is ultimately the perpetrator’s fault for their actions. No blame should be placed on others for evil behavior.
How can we teach our children to respect others?
Set a good example. If you are disrespectful to others, from the grocery store clerk to your employer, your children are bound to follow that example, no matter how many times you “tell” them to do the opposite.
From an early age, teach your children the importance of manners. “Please” and “thank you” are far too sparse in conversations these days.
Teach them to be generous and avoid selfishness. Putting others first is a critical component of avoiding self-centeredness.
Set an example for them on how to interact with those with whom you disagree. Role play ideas and encourage them to humbly and kindly state their position when it differs from yours.
Impress upon them the importance of honesty. Honesty and respect go hand in hand. Not too long ago, a friend of ours had her mailbox run over by the neighbor’s visitor to the neighborhood. Rather than admit to backing over the mailbox, the visitor denied it and lied to the police, even though there were witnesses. An easy solution would have been for honesty from the one who ran over the mailbox, a plan to have it repaired, and forgiveness. Instead, dishonesty got the crook off the hook.
Reiterate the importance of treating others how we would like to be treated. A good habit for all of us to remember is to ask ourselves before each action, “Would I like that done to me?” If the answer is “no”, then we shouldn’t be taking that action against others.
Remind them that not everyone is worthy of their respect. However, even so, we must remember that lashing out with destruction on someone’s person or personal property is never the answer.
Above all else, teach them to love and honor God. Respecting and revering our Lord is paramount to loving and honoring others.
Even if your children are no longer young, it is never to late to teach them the importance of respect. And as adults, it’s never too late for us to remember – and exemplify – that importance as well.
Other posts on this blog you may be interested in reading:
Movie Monday: Signed, Sealed & Delivered Home Again (movie review)
Movie Monday: Invincible (movie review)