By Gilbert Mbewe

Respect seems to have fallen out of favour in public discourse. People find it fashionable to disrespect others in public. It seems normal nowadays to insult, to destroy other people’s property when you want to express your anger and to just do whatever you want without considering others.

With the advent of social media, we have become self-centred, we find it very easy to speak with foul words, to bully others for their opinion and to not to show courtesy at all. Most of us have lost the value of respect. Unfortunately our kids pick that up. But they need to learn to be respectful.

They need to learn to be considerate; they need to learn not to terrorize people with a different opinion from theirs.

Above all they need to learn that even strong feelings can be expressed in a respectful way. The value of respect must be re-introduced to our culture.

Before I proceed, I want to explain what the term respect means. It is important to note that respect can mean different things to different people. But in this article basically respect means to show regard or consideration for someone.

It means honouring other people and treating them with care and courtesy. Respect is the belief and recognition that other people have such much worth and dignity as you and that harming them or their property is inherently wrong.

This is what is absent in our society today and we must re-introduce it. It is critical for our kids to understand the importance of respect so that they can communicate and get along well with others throughout their lives.

Respect is imperative because it makes known the core of a person’s heart; it reflects his thinking. The bible says “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew12:34).

Honouring another human being is the highest respect one can show. It emulates love for each other. Ultimately, it praises God who created all things, and placed mankind on this earth to care for it. It pleases God for has instructed us to be devoted to one another in Love and to honour one another above ourselves (Romans 12:10).

Respect is what every human being should wish to have in their lives as many do not possess it and very few give it. Respect should be part of everyone’s life. Taiwo author of the ten top law of respect writes that “Respect, in many ways is much like food. Everyone needs food for survival. The intake of food nourishes your body and sustains it. Likewise, every human relationship needs respect for survival.”

I agree with the Taiwo, respect enriches the quality of relationship you have with people and help you to sustain your relationship. Yes, a relationship can go without the element of respect, but I sure you it will be just for a short time, certainly it will die without respect in the long run. Unlike food, food respect cost nothing. Why then should it be in short supply? Let’s re-introduce respect in our society.

Equally important, our kids must learn self respect. Self-respect meant to hold proper self-esteem or regards for the dignity of one’s character. The virtue of self-respect allows children to feel good about themselves and will help them to achieve their goals in life. Self-respect is important because is at the heart of respecting others.

When you can identify and appreciate your strengths and accept your vulnerabilities, it’s easier to truly respect the value in others. When our kids have a positive sense of themselves, they will mature to respect others.

The value of respect must be re-introduced in our society and this can be done through us parents. We must instil the value of respect in our kids from our homes. Kids aren’t born respectful. They learn from their parents and other important grownups in their lives, through imitation and direct teaching.

So it is up to us parents to teach our kids respects. Respect is the oil that makes everything run more smoothly. Without respect at a tender age, our kids will have a hard time making and maintaining friendship, when they grow up, building a successful career or even finding love in future. Inspire respect in your children; it will help them pull off great things in life.

The author is a pastor in the Reformed church of Zambia, and serving at Kalichero congregation in the Eastern Province.  He is  also a psycho social  counsellor and currently studying at the The Protestant Theological University in Netherlands. 

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