I’m so excited to bring to you this lovely article 4 Simple Ways to Fill Your Home with Love and Respect by Brenda Berger a guest writer here at our blog today.
In the realm of real estate, the key phrase for a home buyer is often “location, location, location.” Once the house is purchased it would be best for the family to then, in an effort to make their house a home, update this phrase to “respect, respect, respect.” In recent years, the strength of this word has been watered down – and yet respect is at the core of both admiration and love.
We hear so much about how to love your children and how to teach them to be loving, and this is undoubtedly important. Yet love or care or spiritual training, without noticeable respect, is not enough. Respect is of the utmost importance because it yields the strength, the character, and the self-esteem we want our children to have. In The Wisdom of Tenderness, Brennan Manning recorded these words on the tabernacle of a local church,
The greatest thing on earth is respect, because it is the heart of love” (p. 59).
Yet respect is more difficult within in the walls we call our home because there, in order to be consistently respectful, we need to be more observant of the individual needs and feelings of others and to live life purposefully. We have to do quite a lot to create a climate of respect.
The theme of respect runs throughout Scripture, but one verse I find particularly striking is I Peter 2:17: “Show proper respect to everyone” – the NIV Study Bible note says, “Because every human being bears the image of God” (p. 1891). Some translations use the word “honor” instead of “respect.” In either case, the honor or respect is given, not earned. This is obviously not to say that throughout life many people will earn respect because of what they have accomplished, but here we want to focus on respect as an unmerited and primary concept in our personal life of close relationships, like the family.
Marriage, the most intimate family relationship, is also addressed by Peter in 1 Peter 3:7 This verse is full of wisdom for the Christian home. The father gives respect to his wife; together they become a strong unit as they go before their Lord in prayer. As the children in this home see their father show respect to their mother, they will also respect her more respect and most likely love and revere the father. Children thrive as they see these two most influential people in their lives model respect, which they know is evidence of their love and care for each other. Whether they see this respect or suffer the absence of it, our children will be affected.
So how in tangible ways do we express this quality that plays such a vital part in family life? Most of us can quickly envision some of the big ways to express honor and respect – birthdays, holidays, good report cards, a game well played, a clean room (now that is a big one), an award received – but these timely opportunities do not happen every day.
So how do we practice respect as a daily part of life that our spouse and children can see and incorporate and carry with them into their lives?
Common courtesy is one of the foremost keys. As a young mother, I asked my sister who has three children, “When did you start teaching them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’?” Her quick reply was, “Not soon enough.” So I taught my children very soon and 22 years later, by God’s grace and my sister’s kindness, those words are a part of who my children are.
Tone is another important key. Many times we can make some rather strong statements to our children and have them fairly well received if our tone is respectful, reflecting an attitude of care and esteem.
Let me also encourage you to bring much laughter but no disrespectful teasing into your home. We live in a time where bullying and merciless teasing are prevalent; we are not able to fully protect our children from this, but they should know the moment they step into the house that they are safe. As a family, this means doing away with any humor that brings down another in an attempt for a laugh.
When you talk to your child, you can communicate respect to them by being distraction-free. Look into a person’s eyes as they speak, listen so that they feel you are listening. Be respectful of your child’s ideas and slowly, respectfully let him develop an ability to agree or disagree with you; being respectful does not mean mindless agreeing.
Also, hugs and words of “I love you” should be abundant. As we consistently express honor and respect, we may well, over a period of time without even noticing, develop a bit of that most rare of qualities – humility. This humility has developed because we have extended ourselves to think about how the other person is feeling rather than thinking first of ourselves. As you become more and more aware of the joy a respectful atmosphere brings to your home, you will develop your own ways to express this quality that all of your family members so need.
What are some of the lifelong benefits of your efforts at showing honor and respect?
Well as your daughter is treated with respect, her own self image is not only established but enhanced. She will be better equipped to say NO to disrespect because she is accustomed to being treated with respect. As she enters her teens, she will have a picture of how a young man treats a young woman and this “normal to her” picture will help her to be more likely to wisely choose her boyfriends and later her own husband. Likewise, the son in this family will not only be more likely to honor and respect his mother as his father does, but he will likely respect the girls he dates and marry someone who loves and respects him. Since respect is part of his own way of relating, he will show respect to his own wife, daughters, and sons – and so a precious cycle continues; a cycle that will bless generations to come.
As we approach our home life in this manner, we are living a wonderful quote I found by an unknown author:
Only the best behavior is good enough for daily use in the home.”
We are not talking about perfection, but we are creating a daily pattern, a way of life, an atmosphere, consistently treating our family as a treasure and realizing that nothing we have goes to heaven with us except these precious people. And long after we are gone, the legacy of expressing love shown by many years of respect, will carry on blessing the lives of those we left behind.
This article is Day 3 of 21 Days: (Re)Discovering the Heart of Your Home series! As we consider our house let’s think beyond making beds, cleaning dishes and doing laundry. As we think about homemaking let’s look beyond whether we work outside the home, work in the home, are single, empty nesters or don’t have children… Let’s put all of that aside and let’s view it through the lens of relationships and let that guide us. What is the purpose of the space between these four walls? What do I want to overflow from our home and from my heart to my children, my spouse, my guests, my neighbors…? Cultivating a home is so much more than keeping a clean house, making food from scratch, having an organized and tidy home it’s about cultivating beauty, laughter, peace and love in my family and in my relationships. Follow along HERE to get updates on the latest homemaking, parenting and recipe blog post!
About Brenda Berger–Brenda has a passion for missions, for young families, and for the encouragement of single adults. As a Special Education teacher and a Reading Specialist, she has had the joy of teaching many children who have dyslexia to read and to write.