love, respect and parenting

I got to do a Q/A with one of our eGroups today. This eGroup is a group of Elevation moms with young children. We had the best time talking about marriage, and motherhood, and ministry.

One of the things that came up was the idea of teaching our children to respect their dad. Now of course, children need to learn to respect all adults. But I am not really talking about teaching them to say yes ma’am and no sir (although that is really important). I am talking about respect in the terms of Ephesians 5:33, “So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Here are a few of the ideas we discussed…

1. Greet your father when he comes home from work. Nothing is worse than when my husband walks in the house and we are all to busy to even acknowledge that he is home. Most days my husband texts me when he is on his way home from work, I then remind my kids, “Hey guys, daddy is about to come home. When you hear him, make sure to come and give him a hug and say hi.” We don’t get this right every day. But we make an effort. I want my husband to want to come home from work. And I want him to feel like we are glad he is home.

2. Teach your children to respect their father’s space. In our house, Elijah uses my husband’s nice piano/keyboard to practice piano. Elijah knows that using his dad’s keyboard is a privilege. He needs to turn it off when he’s done, and he needs to put his music books back in the bag. This goes for anything else like “borrowing” a charger, or a pen, or toothpaste because your brother never puts the cap on the one you share with him.

3. And of course, modeling is the best way to teach something. I saw an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond (the sitcom all about what not to do in marriage) where Deborah would bet the kids things Ray wouldn’t do like notice her haircut, or come home when he said he would. The way that I talk about my husband to my kids (and my friends and family) is a huge indicator of my level of respect for him. And why would my kids think highly of their dad if I never speak highly of him?

I don’t do this perfectly. But I do want my children to understand that respect goes far beyond being polite. And when they understand how to respect their dad, maybe they will understand how to respect other authorities and maybe (just maybe) even learn to respect each other.