Our Family Project Value of the month for August is Respect.*
I’m always talking about respect with my children. And I quite often talk to my children about respect. I talk about it so much they probably switch off and don’t hear me anymore. So this month we are exploring respect in more detail, so they have to take notice.
My children understand why respect is important, and when we talk about it around the kitchen table, they sound like perfectly programmed angel children, who know what showing respect involves. But like most of us, acting with respect every single moment of our lives is much much harder to do than simply talking about it.
Often it’s not just the children who need to learn to think and act with more respect. Many parents don’t treat their own children with enough respect either. How many times have you heard yourself scream at your children, “Stop shouting, show more respect for each other!” Or is it just me?
Respect can be hard when a situation gets stressful. But in my mind, respect is the foundation that helps the individual or family stand firm against stressful, negative situations. I know that when I deal with a ‘discipline’ issue with my children by speaking calmly and respectfully, the situation is less likely to escalate into a heated battle. But it is difficult. With our own children, our emotions are involved, buttons get pushed and the ‘red mist’ can descend in an instant. With all the will in the world, it is not always possible to be calm and respectful in the face of this.
However, I believe that trying again and again, learning what works for each person and then practice, practice, practicing it, will pay off eventually, especially within a family with young children. All we can do is keep trying and improving things bit by bit. Hopefully our Family Project will keep us focussed on this.
*I am a bit late organising and blogging about this, but hey, it’s the holidays!