There is no doubt that moms all over the world are feeling a monsoon of emotions with all of the recent events occurring across our nation. If you are like me, I have found myself spending more time reflecting on what I can do to help my kids be the best human beings they can be. One pressing trait that always makes it to the forefront of my mind when thinking about this, is the trait of RESPECT. As I started defining how I wanted to best teach this to my children, I realized that respect had a deeper meaning to me than the dictionary definition. In fact, I arrived at the conclusion that respect is the root of several other positive attributes that will help our kids succeed and live a more peaceful life.
R is for RESILIENT
This world is tough. While as mothers we’ll always want to shelter our kids and take care of their problems, it is important that we equip our kids with the skills to overcome the inevitable challenges they’ll experience as they grow up. Teaching them that it’s okay to make mistakes will help them better navigate unsettling setbacks and use the experience as a way to learn and grow. Empowering them to follow their dreams and dive into fulfilling their passions will drive their sense of purpose and persistence to continue seeking goals, accomplishments, and a healthy emotional well-being, even when things get hard.
E is for EDUCATED
Providing a broad sense of education to our kids, meaning, encouraging them to better understand and be respectful of other cultures, religions, sexualities, etc. will be instrumental in their personal growth and helping them to determine how they feel about various issues at hand. Taking the time to become educated about other views than just theirs will hopefully help them to be more respectful and empathetic to social and environmental diversity and able to productively add to the conversation.
S is for SINCERE
Sincerity is an important part of loving yourself and having a strong sense of self-respect. Facilitating an environment where kids are proud of who they are and never feel that they have to do or say things that aren’t representative of their authentic self is such a gift. To be sincere to others and able to share how you genuinely feel about something is healthful, and ensuring this is done in a respectful manner will add to productive conversations and progress.
E is for ETHICAL
Act as if no one was watching; this is what I tell my children all the time. Sometimes, it is as “easy” as going back to the basics and raising our children with the four ethical principles in mind:
- Respect for autonomy- Distinguish the individual as a person and respect their decisions; recognizing one’s independence and their control in making their own decisions.
- Beneficence- do good; implement good in our actions.
- Nonmaleficence- do no harm.
- Justice- treat everyone equally; fairness for all.
C is for COMPASSIONATE
Another oldie but goody to emphasize with our children is “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Encourage kindness and a desire to care and support others through life’s ups and downs, and also practice the same for themselves. Empowering our children to embody self-kindness versus self-judgment, and to forgive and learn from failures instead of allowing self-criticism to take over, will strengthen their mental well-being. Practicing this in their own life will also help them to exhibit this with others.
T is for THANKFUL
Of course, it’s nice and polite for our children to be thankful for the toys they get and the “things” they have, yet it is also important for our children to see the big picture of what it means to be thankful. Thankfulness is embedded in various matters in life such as being thankful for quality time with loved ones, participating in activities that bring forth joy, having an appreciation for what you have and not a longing for what you don’t, and displaying gratitude for other’s and their involvement in your life.
I am by no means a medical professional and don’t have a ton of research to cite in supporting the above ideas on the importance of teaching our kids R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I am just a mom calculating how I can help my children embody self-love and a heart to make the world a better place. As we go through this pandemic, my mind starts thinking about these types of things and chances are that another mom is too. I hope my fellow moms find this helpful, and more importantly, a tool to help facilitate further personal thinking on how we can teach our children in ways that help them serve as powerful advocates for building a more empowering, kindness-centered, peace-ridden, opportunistic future.