Raising Godly Girls requires respect.
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Do you Respect your daughters?
For most of us that would be our first response to this question. It was mine, but as I’ve looked more closely at my relationship with my daughters I’ve found that I’m not very good at showing them respect—at least not as good as I thought I was.
The 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language describes respect as:
“That estimation or honor in which men hold the distinguished worth or substantial good qualities of others. It expresses less than reverence and veneration, which regard elders and superiors; whereas respect may regard juniors and inferiors. Respect regards the qualities of the mind or the actions which characterize those qualities.”
And one of my favorite Scripture verses puts it this way:
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3 (KJV)
Raising Godly Girls requires that you show them respect, probably before they deserve it.
Think about some of the things you do when you are with a friend. You make eye contact when they talk, listen respectfully, and wait for your turn to speak. You show interest in what they are interested in or talking about. You make comments or speak encouraging words as they share with you.
Now think about the last time one of your daughters came to talk with you about something. Did you stop what you were doing and give her your undivided attention? Did you make eye contact? Did you listen respectfully? How about those encouraging comments?
This is the thinking that opened my eyes to how really disrespectful I often am when my daughters need something. There are times when I don’t even stop what I’m doing, but just continue on and try to catch enough of what they are saying to give a response. There are times when I tell them to come back later because I’m busy. There are times when I actually interrupt them or shush them because they are interrupting whatever I’m working on.
So, in light of the results of my self-examination I’ve purposed to make a few changes.
First, I want to stop what I’m doing when one of them comes to me for something.
There are times when we just can’t be interrupted, but admittedly they are probably the exception rather than the rule. I want to look at them, and listen respectfully. I want to provide whatever it is that they’ve come to me for—help, encouragement, or permission.
Second, I want to stop interrupting them, because respect works both ways.
I’ve discovered that I have a habit of interrupting them, not only when they are talking with me, but when they are talking with each other. I do this because my memory is going from bad to worse, and if I don’t say what I want to when I want to I usually forget it. That really isn’t a good enough excuse. I can usually write it down and wait.
Do you remember the interrupt rule?
We taught our children this early on when they were 2 or 3. If they needed a parent and that parent was speaking to someone else, we taught them to come and put their hand on our arm. We would then put our hand on theirs to let them know we were aware of their presence. Then, as soon as possible we would excuse ourselves from our conversation to see what they needed.
I’m thinking I will start using the interrupt rule myself—perhaps after I jot myself a note about what I want to say.
Third, I want to focus on their positive character qualities more often than I comment on what needs changing.
I’ve listened to some of the things I say to them and realized I would never consider stating some of what I say to them that way if I were talking to a friend. There is a difference in that I am their mother and responsible for their training. However, I can take time to ask the Lord to help me phrase my correction or encouragement in a way that will be helpful rather than hurtful.
Fourth, I want to pay more attention to their schedules.
Yes, the days of Mom running the day is over. Now as they become young adults they each have things on their schedule that I didn’t put there. I want to be sensitive to their individual needs as well as those of the family as a whole.
To help implement this we’ve started a common Gmail calendar. We all enter things on it so we can see what the others are up to and avoid conflicts. You can color code events so you can tell at a glance what is happening during a given day, week, or month. You can also look at an agenda view so you can see what is happening each day. The key is to encourage everyone to add their items to the calendar so we can avoid conflicts.
And last, I want to remember that they belong to the Lord, and treat them as daughters of the King.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20
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♥ About the Author ♥
Phyllis is an ordinary woman who serves an extraordinary God. She homeschooled three of their children from preschool through high school. (1992-2009) Her passions are her Lord, her family, and her writing. She has written a column on mothers and daughters for a magazine for five years, and various articles and book chapters for The Old Schoolhouse. Phyllis has also written several books, including her favorite, Purposeful Planning. You can reach her at [email protected] or on her website www.Phyllis-Sather.com.
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