I warn you, this post starts off talking about my kids, moves onto some politics, and back to my kids. I have warned you.

When did people stop holding doors open for others? When something unpleasant to downright terrible happens, why is it so often most people turn and look the other way? Notice, I’m not specifying “men” or “women,” I’m saying people. So much respect in our world has just vanished, and it saddens me. I’m not saying that everyone needs to go 100% out of their way to do something for someone else, but the fact that as a collective people, we’ve lost a lot of decency and gained a sense of entitlement.

This year, much like every other year, we get to learn about what terrible things each other has done. @getconnectdad Click To Tweet

As you may know, I have a set of twins, a boy, and a girl, turning four this November. Since day one, I’ve done my best to teach them respect and to have respect for them. How can you respect a child you ask? Isn’t it our job to teach them? Yes, absolutely. However, from the time a child is born until that person is no longer with us, they have (and this includes you) one single and solitary goal. That goal is to fit in; to belong. It’s a core goal we humans have. I’ve parented the best way I know how to help them fulfill this desire, respecting who they are while providing a safe environment tailored to their temperament. Letting them have the right amount of free-range and intervening when need me.

For all children attempting to achieve the ultimate goal of belonging, kids will either behave or misbehave. When they misbehave, it’s because, in order to belong, they are seeking attention, power, revenge, or proof that they are displaying an inadequacy. I’ve done workshops about this, taught on the subject, and made strategy videos on this topic before, but we’re not talking about a child’s goals in life, we’re talking about respect. Let me take that detour I was mentioning earlier.[mc4wp_form id=”16061″]

This year, the United States of America will be selecting a new leader. This year, much like every other year, we get to learn about what terrible things each other has done. Rallies, ads, debates, articles, publications, all do things that seek – get this – attention, power, revenge, or demonstrating another candidate is inadequate. See why I brought up misbehavior? Every election, we see the grandest of misbehavior from our running officials. We focus on the terrible things that each other candidate has done, and when we do look at what positive things they bring to the table, most people go back to being entitled. What is this candidate going to do for me? How will I benefit to what specifically is important to me? They’re all treating us like we’ve become Caillou. Our political system does not respect us. What’s sad is we don’t have anyone to blame but ourselves. We put these people in office. We are responsible for this mess. Our outlook as a society, community, family, and individual has changed so much over the last 60-70 years.

The only way to get to the heart of the problem is by showing respect.

  • Start with yourself. Respect your mind, body, talents, values, strengths, etc.
  • Respect your children. Show them how important it is to understand turn-taking and the concept of sharing.
  • Show them respect by helping each other when we’re needed. Does someone have a flat? Assist them or at least, see if they need assistance. Pass someone on the street getting into a building with three bags of groceries in their hands? Open the door and ask to help bring in their bags.
  • Give your kids choices so that they can understand power.
  • Encourage them in their actions so they become self-confident.
  • Listen to them when they talk.
  • Ask them open-ended questions about their decisions.
  • Pay attention to the details of what they do.
  • Answer every single “but why?” question.
  • Your teenager wants space? Give it to them.
  • Give your kids respect, and they’ll come to you asking questions and seeking answers.

Respect is not a one-way street. It’s not “I’m the father, you respect me since I’m your elder.” Respect is for everyone, and it’s something we have lost. You’re different than me, you have different views, you do something differently, and I don’t respect you.

I can’t stress how important it is to show respect to your kids. Do you want a good reason? Some of our children will run for office in the future. If we do a good job of instilling respect in our kids, they can respect others they work with and for. Just imagine how amazing things can become.

What is GetConnectDAD?

@GetConnectDAD is an international project focused on One goal:  More ConnectDAD families.   We are 150 writers from around the world, focused on 52 Traits we want in our children.

Each week, parents from around the world are writing on a specific topic as part of a year’s worth of introspection on some key traits we want to consider for our kids.

Our writers answer the question, “What do you do to teach your kids about Empowerment, Generosity, etc?”

We understand that no one can focus on 52 unique traits; however, we hope that parents are able to think about each of these ‘traits’ as they are introduced and consider what they are doing to introduce components to their kids.