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R-E-S-P-E-C-T… Aretha Franklin sang it… some live it… and some completely disregard it but lately, I feel it is at the core of so many troubles within our own families, corporately, and even nationally.

It crushed my heart when I heard a young mother publicly berate her 9ish year old son who was trying to assist, what I assumed to be a younger sibling, who was a toddler, while she was juggling holding an infant and bags of groceries. I’m certain that other people nine rows over could have heard her belittle the child but I had a bird’s eye view of the look in his eyes. He probably wasn’t doing it the way she would have done it but this impressionable young boy, who would grow into a father one day, was trying to help and all I could wonder was if he would grow into a parent who also berated his children or if from his scars, he would emerge the polar opposite, commending his son/daughter for being so helpful and coaching them through the task.  I don’t know what struggles that young mother carried, or what had occurred earlier in her day, or what mischief the young boy may have caused her earlier, but I do know that no little human or adult human deserved to be publicly or privately berated in that manner. Discipline is essential but should never attack the character of the child.

I couldn’t help but wonder if it was some sort of vicious cycle that starts in the family and spills over into all other walks of life. Disrespectfully sharing opinions on social media, at work, at school, to all walks of life – rich or poor.

It’s destructive when a child isn’t taught to treat ALL human beings with respect and may be more of an issue of the parent not respecting their own selves. Most will model the behavior they observe… like little sponges… that will become their ‘normal.’

We don’t want to be responsible for raising adults who will later abuse their own authority, Lording over someone and playing the ‘superior’ card, which may, in fact, say more about their own need to be in control or their own inadequacies than it does the person or child they treat disrespectfully. Differing opinions are inevitable and healthy debate or discussion is essential to progress within a family or in society.

Many of today’s kids are disrespectful and it stems from entitled attitudes and lack of discipline, but more often than not, it stems from what they are observing from home.  Teaching and modeling respect empowers your child in developing empathy and appreciation for all of the different people that we share this world with.

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