Has Respect Vanished from Your Household?
Author : Tom Graneau
Based on the natural affinity that comes together to make up of the family, I have no doubt that you love members of your household, especially your spouse and children. But do you respect them? Before you answer an affirmative “Yes, of course, I respect my family,” you should give some thought to your behavior toward them. It could be that your response may be surprisingly different from what your spouse and children would say.
For example, if you habitually demonstrate some of the following behaviors in their presence, it is possible that you’re taking your family for granted:
- Do you find yourself politely excusing other people’s mistakes but have less tolerance for those within your family?
- Do you “thank” outsiders for favors but neglect to demonstrate the same gratitude to those within your household?
- Do you show sincere appreciation to those who cook your meals, wash your clothes, clean your house, make your bed, and so forth, or do you see these things as chores that must be performed by so and so?
- Do you rudely push your way through family members but politely saying “excuse me” to outsiders?
- Do you make promises to your spouse and children but don’t deliver the goods promptly, thinking that they won’t mind your excuses?
- Do you usually make inappropriate jokes about the apparent weakness of family members?
- Do you tease your spouse or children about their weight, size, clothing, etc., thinking it’s funny?
- Do you tell others (friends, co-workers, etc.) about private, sensitive issues pertaining to your spouse or children?
- Do you habitually point out positive traits in others but see little good in family members?
If one or more of these items on the list makes you feel uncomfortable about the interaction between you and your loved ones, you are most likely taking them for granted, which means that you don’t respect them.
The good news is that you can change the situation by modifying your behavior. I’m a firm believer that people can change when they have the incentive to do so. In this case, visualize yourself adding value to your family, especially in the area of self-esteem, by promoting a general awareness of respect within the home. Consider some of the following points during your preparation:
- Recognizing each member of the family as a gift from God who deserves the same rights given to every human being.
- Take time to show appreciation for their contribution to the household.
- Make a conscious effort to see the “good” in the character of each person and reinforce it when possible.
- Make a habit of saying please, thank you, no thank you, excuse me, etc. when it’s appropriate.
- Instead of saying “shut up” when someone gets too loud, consider saying “be quiet.” It does the same thing but has a different effect on the one who is listening.
Depending on your point of reference, you may think that this approach to family respect is dated. However, there is nothing old-fashioned about respect. We all want to be treated well by others, but more so by those who say they love us.
I challenge you to take on this new attitude and use it consistently. It will produce positive feelings within your household and boost the overall emotional state and self-esteem of each member of the family. Like ethics, respect is a legitimate moral value that begins in the home. It is earned by first demonstrating its principles through your personal conduct and then by recognizing the same values in others. The mutual condition promotes a general sense of well-being and family harmony that eventually spills into society and the world at large.
Begin the practice today and stay consistent with it. The results will be constructively beneficial.
What are your thoughts on the matter?
Is it important to respect people in general? How do you practice respect in your home? What are some of the possible consequences that emerge in the home when no one in the family respects each other? Is it possible that we are losing this important element in society? Does a lack of respect in the home contribute dehumanizing people everywhere?
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