King David writes in the Psalms that before we speak we need to “Set a guard over our mouth, and a door around about our lips.” (141:3) Our words are so powerful and they have so much influence, that even a guard is not sufficient: we also need a door over our lips. What we say, and how we say it, can either communicate respect and worth to another person, or it can lead to their self destruction. Attempt to be gentle, kind and firm in your actions and your words. Be sure to avoid shaming, demeaning or humiliating others.
John Gottman’s research with couples can also be generalized to our relationships with children as well. He found that 96% of the time, the ways in which conflicts resolve have everything to do with the way in which the first two minutes began. If we start by being gentle, kind and respectful, our conflict is likely to be resolved similarly. And wasn’t this dictated to us in our Bible some 200 years prior to Gottman? “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Prov. 15:1
It is easy to be respectful when we are happy, but it’s so much harder when we are angry. Even so, how we handle ourselves when we are angry can lead to constructive resolution, or destructive dissolution of our families.
This same principle is important for our children. The only commandment that attaches a promise to it, is the one that speaks about honoring your parents, the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you. ” – Exodus 20:12.
Honoring your father and mother is being respectful in word and action, and having an inward attitude of esteem for their position.
Remember to pay attention to respect as a virtue for every member of your family to aspire to…