Start the New Year out respectfully:
1. Be intentional about letting others know you value them.
2. Act respectfully. Respect is something done as opposed to possessed.
3. Be attentive. Respect begins with listening well, not planning what you’ll say next.
4. Surprise people with your politeness. It might be contagious.
5. Breathe. Exercise patience and calm in tense situations.
6. Confront biases. Recognize and eliminate biases that inhibit your ability to give respect.
7. Model respect for the children in your life by how you treat others—the salesclerk, the person who cuts you off in traffic. Kids are watching (and listening to) you.
8. Introduce children (and yourself) to different people, experiences. Watch for ways to broaden their worldview.
9. Practice respect and reverence for all creatures and creation.
10. Lead with grace. Forgive often, speak and show love abundantly.
I saw him patrolling the backyard, a topless 8-year-old with his chest puffed full. It was a sign that Ben, my only son and the middle kid of three, had cranked up his attitude to full-blast.
When the shirt comes off, Ben’s swagger tilts the vibe of our house—especially when he decides that it’s cool to talk back to mom. “Why should I do your dirty work?” he huffed one afternoon when I told him to unload the dishwasher.
The hammer of parental justice dropped swiftly. Goodbye computer, television and video games. Instead of loading discs into the Nintendo, Ben would be loading dishes into the Maytag for a long, long time.
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