(Image cred:: Pinterest)
When did we become wimpy parents? When did we decide that it was more important to be our child’s friend than be their parent? When did our lines get crossed about who is actually in charge?
I’m not anywhere close to being the perfect parent. I can be one of the most inconsistent people on the planet. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease in my house because I am so tired of listening to the broken record that’s asking me, “Can I pleeeaaase have a snack/play for 5 more minutes/watch TV/play video games/____________?” So just know, I’m losing little battles every single day in my home.
But one thing that runs all over me is when I see kids disrespecting their parents with their mouths. Nothing gets my blood boiling more than watching a kid spew venomous, disrespectful words at the person who cares for them. It makes me want to tell Jesus to cover his eyes and ears because I’m about to lose my religion all over this kid.
Our American culture has distorted “freedom of speech” to mean, “I can say whatever rude, ugly, and hateful words that I want because that’s my right.” And because of this “freedom,” people have forgotten how to be respectful of one another. If you think I’m wrong, just look at our top presidential candidates for this year’s election. It’s disgusting. The whole idea of freedom of speech was to give people the right to express different ideas without persecution, not to give people a free pass to be jerks.
In my house, we don’t abide by the amendment that gives our children the freedom of speech. We abide by the “If you don’t have anything nice to say, shut your face” rule. Does that mean my kids are always kind and loving towards one another? Ummmmm…no. If they were, we wouldn’t have to have this rule. Are my kids always obedient and respectful towards Kyle and me? No, but, like other bad behavior, there are consequences for their actions. When we allow our children to speak to us, their parents, in a disrespectful way, what makes us think they will do anything less to their teachers, police officers, or bosses one day?
Parents, being respectful and kind is just like any other lesson we teach our children. As parents, we think it’s our job to make our child the best: get them into the best school, they need to be the best on the team, they need to have the best grades, get them the best of everything. Why not, instead, teach them how to be generous with what they’ve been given? Instead of basking in the glory of being the best athlete on the team, what if we advised them to offer to practice extra with the kids who don’t get as much playing time? If our kid really excels in one particular subject, what if we encouraged them to offer help to the kids who don’t do as well in that class? What if we, as parents, put emphasis on their character rather than their performance? Teaching them respect and generosity and kindness are just as much our responsibility as teaching them their ABC’s. It’s hard work, but it’s important work and it starts with us.
We teach them how to be respectful by being respectful ourselves. We ought to treat the Queen and the person behind the cash register with the same respect because they’re both human beings. (I’m going to try to say this as lovingly as possible: Get off the phone when you’re checking out and make eye contact with the cashier. She is a person; treat her as such or wait to check out until your call is finished…dear. Did that come off loving?)
We teach them kindness by being kind. We are kind to people’s faces and we’re kind when they walk away (this can be HARD, ladies, and our girls are watching.)
We can teach them to be generous by being generous with our own gifts. Whether that’s money, time, or talents, we all have something we can give.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, they’re looking to us to see how to live. It’s a lot to take on, but cling to the cross and you’ll be just fine.
Looking for my new children’s Christmas book? Find it here!!