The title of this article sounds offensive although it isn’t aimed at any particular individual. It’s just sitting there on the page for all to see, provoking a cringe or a silent gasp. The power of those two words began their roots in all of our childhoods; they were not to be uttered without consequence. In fact, you knew you were in the presence of a disrespectful household when children could freely say these words. “Shut up!” is used to dismiss an entire human being from expressing themselves and even to get them out of your sight. It’s up there in vulgarity with other four letter words that, when spoken, have the power to cut down the person they’re aimed at. Besides going as far as putting a muzzle on our children, how are we to teach respect and earn respect in return?
Matthew 6:30 “And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
When we think of how carelessly we throw things away it’s easier to understand how we value things. Wilted flowers, leftovers, clothes that are no longer a part of a trend, we toss them away because they no longer serve a purpose. At times, in our selfishness, when we can’t see the benefits of a relationship we deem it toss worthy. Parents to children and children to parents, are we to be just as careless? Making a difference in the world begins with caring. When a child feels cared for they understand their value and when a child respects their parents the parents feel as if there is worth to the care they provide. Teaching respect begins with caring enough to see the value of family.
Proverbs 15:32 “If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.”
Our egos can get in the way when our ways are corrected. Whether parent or child, correction can sting and it takes effort to see the love in the criticism. When a teacher corrects a test with a bright red maker, no matter what the grade, what stands out most are the marks that mock the effort of the test taker. There is love in being corrected, it speaks in language of care that says, “I don’t want to lead you astray so I must correct your wrongs, so that you don’t repeat them and become someone you are not.”
Children can rebel and justify their rebellion when correction isn’t administered in the home. Sometimes, when a parent decides to correct their children after enough time has gone by without it, correction can be ineffective. Scary! The way back to uprightness in that home is to do it in love and aim for understanding, not the belittlement of the child. What use is a good grade when all that is seen is the teacher’s corrections in red ink?
Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
The pain of discipline comes with a promise! If we are consistent we will reap a reward and what greater reward is there for those who have applied care, correction, and consistency to the well-being of their family? The Word of God is gracious enough to let us know that discipline hurts but, that our consistency will bless us in the end. Earning respect is easier when we consistently give it and when we create an environment where there is discipline for those who are disrespectful. The consistency we demonstrate in our homes is what will build children who walk with integrity, with parents who are honored by them. Our homes won’t have to stay shut up in chaos, we can care to consistently correct and live in abounding love.