Happy “Respect for Parents Day!” With so many fun and notable specially recognized days, it’s great that they’ve included a day to celebrate parents in a way that causes us to reflect on respect.
I find myself interested in the designation, “Respect for Parents” and what it means to me and also what it might mean to YOU?
Respect for parents. What does that mean exactly? Does it mean I need to agree with all their choices? Hardly. We rarely agree with all of anyone else’s choices. Does it mean I like or love them? Not necessarily. Ok, if it doesn’t mean the obvious, what could it mean?
The dictionary defines “respect” as: “having a deep feeling of admiration for someone or even something because of their abilities, qualities and achievements.”
So, according to the dictionary, simply thinking that a parent is “cool” doesn’t mean we have a “deep admiration” for them. The concept of “respect” seems to connote something more meaningful and intense than being thought of as cool.
And as the definition suggests we have other reasons for respecting parents. We may admire our parents, or other people’s parents, because they are able to do admirable things, have qualities we think are valuable and/or have accomplished things during their lifetime that makes them attractive to us.
Certainly, anyone who is already become a parent, whether you’re a 20-year old or a 90-year old, can see that they themselves have abilities, traits and achievements to be admired, to feel proud of.
Those of you who are parents, you’re likely to be respected and can remember that, even when someone (your child?) does something you think is “dissing” you.
It’s likely that they do have a lot of respect for you. It’s also possible that what you’re perceiving as dis-respect is more likely to mean they don’t agree with you or don’t like your restrictions and suggestions, but, in all likelihood, they still respect you.
If you’re trying to determine if you respect your parents, you will be looking to these factors:
- Everyone has some abilities – throwing a ball, cooking a meal, writing a post, walking on their hands.
- Everyone has some qualities you think are fine – generosity, determination, kindness, compassion, thoughtfulness – qualities you would probably like to have, too.
- Everyone who’s lived to be 20 or 30 has achieved something – won a spelling bee, gotten on a team, baked a cake.
It doesn’t look like deciding to respect your parents, be they young, middle-aged or frail elderly, is all that complicated. Surely you can find something to decide to respect in them? Need some ideas?
Here are 5 Simple and Effective Ways to Cultivate More Respect for Parents.
Put away your smartphone, look them in the eye and really listen to what they are saying. Avoid interrupting them even if you feel that what you have to say needs to be heard. If you don’t understand what they have said or you feel you may have misunderstood them, ask for clarification. Being attentive and showing actively listening skills is a great way to show that you care and that you respect them.
- Keeping them up to date on your life
We all get busy and have lives of our own after we have left our childhood homes. When we take the time to schedule a call with our parents once a week and keep them up to date on what is going on in our lives when we keep our connection with them maintained it is easier for them to feel mutual respect.
- Giving a helping hand
Find ways to show how much you appreciate and respect their hard work by helping with mowing the yard, organizing old photos, window cleaning or running errands for them.
- Delivering sincere compliments
Is your mom a great cook? Does your dad have great mechanical skills? Take the time to let them know you’ve noticed how talented, kind-hearted or dedicated they are.
- Engaging together in their favorite activity
Jigsaw puzzles may not be your thing, but the time you spend helping your parent put it together will show them how much you respect their passions and interests and take an interest in what they enjoy.
Is having respect for a parent a decision we make? Yes, that’s what I’m thinking. If almost everyone has things that deserve our respect, certainly we can find respect for the very people who gave us life, took care of us when we were needy and in diapers, enrolled us in school, wiped our tears and told us they were proud of us. They DO deserve our respect.
What do you think?