As a leader and especially as a parent, it is important to model respect for others. No matter what your leadership title is—parent, employer, pastor, teacher, coach, police officer—modeling respect and honor to others can change the face of your environment. And if enough respect is brought back into the world, then maybe we can change the face of the world.
After my difficult experiences as a pastor during the Columbine tragedy, I was forced to question and work through some difficult issues. As a leader myself during that time, I had to stand tall and pray for God’s wisdom. I had to pray a lot. And through that time I came to believe that the issue of respect needs to be tackled and tackled hard from the home first.
The statistics below show that we have an issue of respect in America. I would bet that if we had more respect for each other, we would see these decrease.
- About 40 Americans are murdered each day
- Around 2,500 people try cocaine for the first time each day
- In 2013, there were more than 3,000 violent crimes committed in the US each day.
- There were more than 23,000 property crimes committed per day in the US in 2013.
- More than 5,000 burglaries happen each day in America.
- Over 200 people become victims of rape each day.
- Nearly 3,000 abortions are performed each year
- Over 2,000 divorces are filed each day
Respect starts in the home. In many ways, everything starts in the home before it leeches out into culture. Children will not learn to respect others if they aren’t taught to respect others. And there are two primary ways of cultivating this respect in your children: creating rules and respecting others first.
I honestly feel like we need to bring back some of the culture of calling people by Mr., Mrs., and Ms. When we teach our young ones that they need to associate age and authority with titles, we show them that authority is set apart from them. One day, they will earn the respect themselves to carry these important titles, but for now, they must be the ones offering respect. Cultivating rules and even just conversation around tough issues is going to help your child respect others. Talk to them about respecting peers’ bodies and their body. Show them that violence and intimacy are serious issues to think about. Show them that their principal and teacher have authority by upholding their decisions in the home.
And equally important is to show your kids firsthand what respect and honor look like. Treat your spouse and children firstly with delicacy and care. Listen to them, work for them, love them. When you as a parent fail to respect your spouse or family or kids, you show your children that your standard is different. You show them that it IS okay to disrespect even your closest people.
And when you are out and about, it’s important to show your kids how you respect others. When you get pulled over for speeding, be polite to the officer. When you’re at a restaurant, show kindness to the servers and hosts. When you go over to another friend’s house, show your kids how you ask and allow them to set the pace and rules. All of these little things add up to showing your kids you don’t just tell them to respect others; you actually do respect and honor others. And this will cement for them the importance of respect and honor.
Boundaries promote respect. Whether in business or the home, it’s important to create boundaries. Your employees aren’t intended to be your best friends. Neither are your kids. Do not be afraid to set healthy boundaries and enforce them! Expect your children and employees and students to respect you and the boundaries you set. This doesn’t mean be distant and harsh. It just means be open to loving them in a way that makes it apparent to them that they need to obey the rules.
I hope that no matter what type of leadership you are in, you can take this challenge to begin bringing respect to the forefront of your world. By showing others how you live a life of respect, you can change the world.
What do you believe is important about respect? Let me know in the comment section below!
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Billy, I agree wholeheartedly. One of the comments I hear most about my adult children is how polite they are. I have a son who is in prison and even prison staff have told me he is very polite to them and other inmates. Being a parent is not a fuzzy game and, you are right, we cannot be our child’s best friend. I would have been a better leader and employer had I set better boundaries with my staff and employees. Now that I am old and hope that one day I would earn a title of respect, so few use titles. I am seldom ever called Doctor, a title I worked long and hard to earn. I like being informal and I seldom use titles with professionals that I consider peers, like you for example. But, it would be sweet to get a little more respect now that I am old. I agree totally that the changes we need in this country have to start in the home. Scripture even teaches that we must be able to lead our own house (meaning lineage as well as our home) before we can lead others.
I love your posts. Keeps me on my toes.
I always appreciate your comments! I think we all want a little more respect. It’s frustrating to not hear the titles we work for being used. Thank you for your faithful readership.