This morning an adorable little Snapp gave me a charming smile and said, "Yes, ma'am!" as he scampered down the stairs to obey my command. I called him back up and thanked him for speaking so respectfully to me. He said, "You're welcome!" Then rushed down the stairs again as this words floated back up to me, "I like it when you speak respectfully to me too, Mom." And as he went on his errand, I sat and let those words soak into my mind and my heart. As a parent I am trying to teach these boys to show respect to authority and elders. Often I feel like I am teaching the wind. My mind travelled to years ago, a lifetime ago, when my husband was here on earth. I pondered our relationship and remembered how from the beginning it was saturated with respect for each other. We did some things wrong, but this one thing we did right. We had great respect for each other. And that respect keep us from doing or saying many things that entered our minds. I know it did on my end. I have a quick, deadly tongue at times and yet it didn't flare out at Jim. Even when I was very upset, I could tone it down when I shared my bundle of emotions. My respect and love for him made me keep my tongue in check. This was something Jim taught me by his example. An example the boys and I now lack.
As I sat and pondered Snapp's comment, I thought of how we as parents are so quick to expect and even demand respect from our children. Yet we forget it that they learn best by example, our example. When we speak respectfully, they learn to speak respectfully. When we treat others with respect, especially them, they learn how to be treat others with respect. I will admit I have really dropped the ball on this these past three years. Thankfully, the Lord used my child to teach something yet again.