Does your home need a “Respect Revamp”?
Yesterday I shared specific ideas for honoring fathers. You can read that here. I also talked about the important role mothers play in teaching their children to respect Dad.
Exodus 20:12 “Honor thy father and thy mother.”
Ephesians 6:1-2 “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with promise.”
Today, I’m giving a sample “respect” scenario to use in evaluating if your home needs a Respect Revamp. Tomorrow, I’m telling you about “Operation Respect” that took place in my home after being appalled at the disrespect toward Dad that I was inadvertently teaching.
How would you handle this scenario?
Your husband habitually comes home late, leaving you soloing it in the parent department, disrupting your ideal supper time, entering home with predictable fault-finding. He reacts harshly regarding the bike left out front and the toys strewn all over the house. His insensitive and controlling words are, “What did you do all day?” Ouch.
How would you respond? Be real…if it happens allll the time, how would you respond?
Our response is what we are role-modeling. We could have a snappy comeback, be sarcastic, tell him off, point out how valuable we are, and list our unnoticed accomplishments for the day. We could blame-shift, pout, run to our room and cry, slam a door, be sarcastic, give him the silent treatment, and play the victim. Each of these is disrespectful. Each, when done, continues to build upon a disrespectful foundation in our homes.
So why would we expect our five-year-old daughter or our teenage son to be respectful and honoring to their father…when we’re not?
I am not condoning being trampled on or in any way allowing abuse. We certainly do need to communicate respectfully and privately about this, and of course, take this to the Lord in prayer. But, today’s post is about what we have control over.
We choose to react with love, kindness, gentleness, … and self-control. Or not.
We could choose to honor what’s important to him by ensuring the toys are all picked up and the home is orderly for his entrance. But, even in so doing, we could still undermine him and be further advancing attitudes of disrespect towards Dad. Here are four potential responses:
- We could yell at the kids all day long to pick up their toys and create a frenzied, tense atmosphere.
- We could speak in a soft voice, yet communicate a disgruntled, angry heart towards Dad. “Put that away. Your dad hates it when we’re messy.” “Pick that up. Let’s not make your father mad.” Say what? That sounds like we’re not supportive, and builds resentment. This could be training our kids to not like “being told what to do.”
- We could communicate frustration in the final minutes before his arrival by frantically yelling, “Hurry up! Dad’s almost home! He’ll be upset. Get it cleaned up NOW!” That’s certainly not honoring and it doesn’t teach kids to look forward to dad’s arrival.
- We could play the martyr and mumble, “No one appreciates me. Dad wants a clean home, but what does he do? He always comes home late!” Oh my. Be careful lest we raise kids to do likewise and see the world only through self-centered eyes.
Each of these scenarios will produce the desired outcome of an orderly home, but at what expense? Our disconfirming methods tear down the man of the house, the leader of our “little nation.”
There are respectful solutions that honor dads, but they do involve a change in us.
Ask Dad to call on his way home, giving time to pick up toys. Be sure to “train ahead” so that your kids know how to respectfully and obediently respond to this. (Click here to read more about “training ahead.”) Each day, upon his phone call, with enthusiasm say, “Kids, Dad will be here in ten minutes. Time to clean up.” Then greet him outside. Your new, supportive approach- with all family members on board, will speak volumes on respect and provide a setting fit for a king. (okay, let’s not get carried away.)
Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her hands.”
Another important change that must happen to revamp the respect level is speaking affirming words of our husband in our homes throughout the day. “I’m so thankful your dad is a hard worker.” “I can’t wait for Dad to come home today to show him your artwork.”
Teach the kids to observe their dad and his interests, his skills, talents, personality, and character. Teach them to speak genuine words of affirmation to him. “Dad, thanks for fixing my shower head- even after a long work day. I love you.” “Dad, I love watching the game with you.” “Dad, you make THE best grilled chicken.” A gratefulness journal is one way of recording kind thoughts.
We can revamp the respect to Dad by changing our reactions, observing admirable qualities, showing kindness, and speaking words that honor him to others and directly to him.
I share of few significant steps I made to revamp the respect in tomorrow’s post , “Operation Respect.” Let the turnaround begin.