10 Tips for Building a Culture of Respect in your Family

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  1. See tip #10 
  2. Encourage attitudes of gratitude. Please and thank you always, even for the little things that are often taken for granted. Leave thank you notes for one another recognizing the sacrifices and helpful acts (see #3) performed. Is your family in a “feeling less than gracious” mode? Begin a Gratitude Journal -consider asking everyone to voice what they are grateful for each day at dinner or prayer time and record it in the family Gratitude Journal. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of all we have to be thankful for.
  3. Sacrifice and helpful acts convey the message “You are worth it”! Loving requires self-sacrifice and  service. How about challenging each family member to perform at least one act of kindness within the  family each day? Pray (see #4), asking God how your family can better serve one another.
  4. Prayer... makes all possible. Let’s face it, living day in and day out with our less-than-perfect selves and less-than-perfect family members is no easy task. Praying together daily gives us the grace to live  as a family, loving and forgiving one another. Finding time (see #5) to pray together can be a challenge, sometimes we have to make opportunities at meal time, bedtime or in the car.
  5. Time spent together is precious and cannot be underestimated or gotten back once lost. Being fully present (without the distraction of technology or tasks) to our spouse, child or teen says “You are important”.  You are worth more than anything else at this moment. How can we assure that we are really present to one another? Do we shut off all technology at meal time? Do we set aside distraction free time to talk? Do we ask for forgiveness (see #6) when we give family members less than the full attention they   deserve?
  6. Forgiveness asked for and granted requires humility and recognition(see #7) that we have not treated or been treated with the dignity of one made in God’s image. As living, breathing human beings, we will at some point need to ask for or be granted forgiveness. Rather than a mumbled, “I’m sorry” your family could adopt the practice of asking for forgiveness. The offender asks the offended “Will you please forgive me?” This is more difficult practice but also more healing.
  7. Recognition that our bodies and souls are gifts to be nurtured and respected will help to protect our families from the utilitarian culture bombarding us today through the media in advertising, and entertainment. Teaching our children and teens that our bodies and souls are gifts that need to be nurtured and respected rather than used takes great diligence. Setting high standards for media, entertainment, speech (see # 8), and fashions allowed in your family takes courage, commitment and persistence. The results are worth it.
  8. Our manner of speech says a lot about who we are as a family. Do we speak to one another as we would speak to our neighbor or the store clerk? How about asking everyone to pretend they are flies on a wall for a day or two and really listen and observe the way we talk to one another? How do we honor or dishonor our family (see #9) members with our words or tone of voice or attitudes? Choose one or two areas to improve upon, talk about alternative ways to speak and then commit to work on these habits. The reward will be a more peaceful, joyful family.
  9. Family- the people God gave us to travel to Heaven with! We all have a part to play and it is important for each family member to participate in prayer, work, play and family rules(see #10) . Expecting each family member to contribute through age appropriate chores, recreation and prayer gives them dignity knowing they are needed and cherished in their God-given family. “The true Christian home is an altar of sacrifice and a theater of comedies and drama; it is a place of work and a haven of rest." Rev. George A. Kelly
  10. If we strive to set one standard, old fashioned as it may sound, “The Golden Rule” will build a   culture of respect within our family. Treat others as you want to be treated in speech, in action  and in attitude. Often we model this outside the home, but the ones we love and live with  deserve our respect as well. From young children to teens to parents, we can all practice this.