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A Lesson in Respect

A Lesson in Respect

My children asked what time their grandmother would arrive at the airport. I could see their joyous expectation of her arrival. On the way to school, they asked, “Will Grandmother be with you when you pick us up this afternoon?”

Back when I was young and my grandmother was alive, she lived close enough where we were able to see her weekly. It was a tremendous joy to watch her as she greeted us with the door open and a big smile.

In a strong but gentle voice she would look at us, grinning and saying, “Get over here and give me a hug.” The aroma of apple pie baking in the oven was heaven. We always felt the warmth of her love demonstrated through her actions. To give and receive love is a gift from God, and our grandparents are an extra special blessing.

Recently, my mother asked one of my sons to do something and he frowned and wouldn’t do it. Observing the moment, I said to myself, “Either he has amnesia or another medical condition.”

Obviously, it didn’t go well for him. He was disciplined. He wasn’t allowed to play on his Xbox or to go outside and ride his bike. I sent him to his room to think about what was in his heart that caused him to treat his grandmother that way.

After a while, I went to check on him and didn’t see him lying on his bed. I called out to him and I heard a small voice say, “Yes.”

I said, “Where are you?”

He replied, “In here. In the closet.”  He had fallen asleep praying in the closet. That blessed my heart.

He came into my room where I was sitting. He had tears in his eyes. His face was red and his eyes looked swollen. He said, “Mom, I’m so sorry for disrespecting Grandmother. Please forgive me.”  He gave me and his grandmother a card with the same apology in it, but it also included Scripture from Matthew 18:17-18, referring to forgiving someone of their faults. I chuckled on the inside.

When his father got home from work, he had our son write down the definition of respect and recite the definition out loud every twenty minutes for about an hour and a half.

I pray he learns not to take someone’s love for granted and that this will be the last we hear about our child disrespecting an elder. If not, the Bible says to train them in the way he should go—and with God’s help, we will continue to do our part.

What have you done to correct your child’s behavior when you’ve observed disrespect? Do you have some other ideas for us?

By: Evelyn Burns is a wife and the mom of three boys. She teaches Sunday school and is a registered nurse and adjunct faculty at a local university. Visit her website at

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One Comment

  1. What a great idea to write the Scripture and quote it every twenty minutes! We will try that at our house. And then tape it to the wall or mirror for a few days.
    When we see disrespect in our children, we try to take time to figuratively switch places. We ask the child how he would feel if the same were said/done to him. We push the child to go beyond “I would feel bad” and explore how our words affect other’s feelings.

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