How to Teach Your Kids About Respect and Honor
Envision the gladiators and noblemen in the Roman Republic sometime around 73 BC...
The T.V. miniseries, Spartacus (2011), reenacts the culture at this time. In one scene, a leading character addresses the family of Batiatus. He declares, “Here we stand. This house is built atop the unshakable foundation of honor and respect. And in no man were these qualities more evident than in Titus Lentulus Batiatus.”
THE FOUNDATION: HONOR AND RESPECT
The unchanging underpinning is honor and respect!
Indeed, these two timeless truths are fundamental to any family, tribe or nation.
Though some pay lip service to honor and respect, it only reinforces everyone’s instinct that the bedrock ought to be honor and respect, and that these qualities ought to be evident in every person.
LEARNING HONOR AND RESPECT
These two, ageless values need to be learned by young men, especially those who have never enjoyed the presence of a wise father.
In the movie, 300 (2007), the father wrestles with his son in training. As he headlocks the boy, the dad imparts this wisdom, “In the end…a Spartan’s true strength is the warrior next to him. So give respect and honor to him and it will be returned to you.”
As they end their wrestling match, the father utters, “Do not forget today’s lesson. Respect and honor.”
The boy echoes, “Respect and honor.”
The dad educated the young Spartan concerning the ideal of honor and the importance of showing respect.
Are we teaching our children what it means to be honorable human beings?
Do our sons and daughters understand what many warriors grasp?
In the movie, Ultimate Fighter (2010), the fighter exclaims, “Inside, I’m enraged. You know, I want to do something about it. You know, I want to disrespect him. But I want to stay faithful to who I am. And being disrespectful, it’s not who I am.”
Even Scripture confirms this when it says, “A fool’s anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor” (Proverbs 12:16).
Honorable people show respect, not disrespect. It is who they are.
In the episode, “Prodigal Father,” of the T.V. series, 7th Heaven (2004), we hear this advice, “If you ask me, a father/son relationship is about honor and respect, and I’d suggest being honorable and respectful, no matter how upset you are.”
Men and women of honor do not let themselves be governed by contempt and rudeness. They do not cross the line into hate, rage and loss of emotional control.
In the Navy Seal’s Ethos, we read, “The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstances, sets me apart from other men.”
“Regardless of circumstances.” This phrase provides us with a significant clue. Honorable people conduct themselves honorably no matter the conditions. Such individuals show respect no matter what.
Albert Einstein said, “Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.”
I refer to this as “unconditional respect.”
We observe the power of this when even slaves found favor with God when they showed their masters “respect…not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable” (1 Peter 2:18-20).
This never means giving evil license to do what evil wishes to do. Never.
Honorable men and women respectfully confront evil and respectfully enact consequences against evil when they are able. Regardless, honorable people do not become rude and contemptuous human beings.
What are you teaching your sons and daughters about honor and respect?
Teach them to show respect, no matter what, without compromising what is right and good.