Teaching respect to children

Dr. Scott Turansky, founder of Biblical Parenting, writes, “When children lack respect, relationships suffer. Disrespect can be hurtful and embarrassing. It’s important to teach children to be respectful in words and actions toward parents, other adults, and even toward each other. Respect focuses acting in a kind and humble way when interacting with others. It includes things like manners, greetings, and proper conversation techniques. Children need to learn how to show respect in practical terms so clearly define what is appropriate and what is not.”

Respect begins with reverence

Children wonder, “Why fear God?” Though kids often hear about God’s love, they rarely learn about the fear of the Lord. They are largely unaware that God commands people to fear and revere Him. As a result, children show disrespectful, indifferent, or flippant attitudes toward God.

Dr. James Dobson says, “Scripture teaches that children ought to respect their parents (1 Timothy 3:4) and that everyone should ‘Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly’ (Leviticus 19:32). This attitude of respect for our earthly elders also leads us more easily into proper respect for our heavenly Father.”

To those who fear Him, God promises deliverance, love, protection, restoration, and reward. Those who know the Lord God Almighty possess a deep reverence and awe for Him. The “fear of the Lord” provides exclusive access to the halls of knowledge and wisdom. In fact, learning cannot take place until we fear the Lord! (Proverbs 1:7).

Teach children about God’s majesty—His character, attributes, and nature. In Core Bible curriculum, children will discover God’s greatness. The more they know about God’s holiness, the more they will revere and love Him. God’s very name is holy; speak about Him with great reverence (Exodus 20:20). Fear of the Lord sets God’s children apart from those who profane the Almighty.

“Children will take their cues from you,” says Dr. Robyn Silverman. “Simply put, if children are around respectful adults, they’re more likely to show respect; however, when they’re around disrespectful adults, they’re more likely to show disrespectful behavior. Yelling, cursing, grabbing, shouting over, and sarcasm are transferable!”

The language children grow up hearing is the language they will speak. Respect begins at home and the best way to start is by instilling the Word of God into our children from birth. It is never too late to remember what the Lord commanded us to do:

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Practical Idea: Bible Verses About Respect

A child’s heart is so moldable and requires persistent training to develop in the right direction. Take a look at our new 416-page Bible StoryBook or use the following verses to teach your children Biblical truths about respect.

Respect for the Lord

Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Romans 1:20-22; 1 Peter 3:14-6; Revelation 4:11, 5:11-12

Respect for Elders and People in Authority

Leviticus 19:32; Romans 13:2, 7; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17

Respect for Family Members

Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4; Colossians 3:21; Ephesians 5:33, 6:2; Hebrews 12:9; 1 Peter 3:7

Respect for Neighbors and Others

Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 2:17

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