Respect: Adults must set the example | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | January 20, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: January 21, 2018 at 2:53 pm
- “The most powerful, moral influence is example,” according to the late Huston Smith, U.S. religious studies scholar. Time has long since passed for adults’ telling children, “Do as I say, not as I do.” That is not effective, nor is it the proper thing to do.
As affirmed by the late Dorothy Nolte, American writer and family counselor, “Children learn what they live.” Approximately 10 months ago, I wrote an article focusing on a lesson telling young people to respect their elders. However, if we as adults continue to say and do some of the awful things in the presence of youngsters that we say and do, then how can we criticize and chastise them when they say and do the same thing? They are merely mimicking what they hear and see, especially the very little ones.
God commands us as adults in Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) to, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Therefore, adults, we must set the example. Even setting the example, it doesn’t mean that the child will not stray away. However, as parents and adults, by setting the example, we will have done what God commanded, and we will have given the children a foundation upon which to fall back if they should go astray. Consequently, our actions and what we say as adults will speak volumes over worthless, empty rhetoric.
I have been a classroom teacher for almost four decades. As the old folks often say, “Every day was not Sunday,” but I have some great memories and a profound love for the profession. I have always established my rules the first day, and I stick by them. Overall, I have to say that my students respect me. There are those who have gotten out of line with me over the years, but they soon discovered that respect is at the top of my list.
I have always carried myself in a respectful manner in the presence of my students and the community. Children watch this in us as adults, and they will talk about it when they see and hear us acting and talking in a manner unbecoming of adults. As a parent, I did and still do the same thing. I set the example, and my children will tell me to this day, “Momma, you should have no regrets because you raised us the right way. You did your part as a mother in the best way that you knew how.”
I am not perfect, but I followed what God commanded of parents and adults. It’s now on them.
Sadly, our society as a whole has become very rude and lacks good manners. We don’t speak to each other with kindness as we should. Some of us purposely say things to hurt others’ feelings. A lot of this communication is so vile and profane until it is a crying shame. This is not of Christ. Ephesians 4:29 (KJV) says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” In other words, if what we say is not going to build up, it should not tear down.
No matter what is your position in society, you should not speak all manner of evil to, against, and about others because with your position comes responsibility. Therefore, those in leadership, no matter who they are, must be held accountable for their communication as well. That means, from “the top” on down!
I am not going to sugar coat this matter because the disrespect has got to stop! Poor examples, especially in communication, are being tossed out there like footballs for our young people to hear. Their feeling is, “If you say it, then so can I!”
One day I overheard one of my students telling another student, “I think our President would make a halfway decent president if he would keep his mouth shut!” Young people are listening when you think they aren’t! Need I say more?
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)