Sunday, April 12, 2009

Respect and Self Reliance. Can we teach it? Yes we can!

I taught a class of 14 -15 year old young women today in church. The lesson was fascinating for me. I think I learned more as the teacher and a parent of teenagers than I taught them.

We began by discussing about their current stage in life. They are becoming more adult and taking greater responsibility for their actions. They may sometimes feel hampered by the restrictions of childhood. Other times they may feel insecure with the responsibilities of adulthood.

This can be a scary time for them but this is also a difficult transition for parents. Parents as well as youth are learning how to manage through these changes and sometimes they make mistakes. Young people need to be forgiving and remember that parents are always trying to do their best.

There was a roll play where a daughter asked her dad if she could do some work around the house to earn money for some new shoes. When her dad asked her why she couldn't just wear her sisters old ones, she got mad and stormed out of the room.

Of course my young women saw that the father was wrong for not helping his daughter earn some extra money. But they also pointed out that if the girl had been calm and explained her desire to have nice new shoes and she was willing to buy them with her own money that maybe her dad would have paid more attention.

How true it is. If one of my children is demanding and whiney about something I either tune them out or stop them. But... if they will patiently present their case in a grown up manner I always work with them.

It was also a good reminder to me that I need to treat my children with the respect I would give another adult. When I do this, they act more grown up, our conversations are more interesting and informative and our relationships grow in ways they never do when I hover, demand and control.

The young people in our homes have tender hearts and feelings. No one likes to be criticized and more than anyone else in the world they need to know that we believe they can accomplish anything. If they believe that we believe in them; they will believe it too.

Here are some quotes that I think really hit the mark:

1. Parents become used to teaching and giving specific instruction to their children. And it is sometimes difficult for them to remember how important some things are to their children. “Parents, remember when you were young; remember why you wanted to do some things you wanted to do; remember how eager you were for social acceptance, how sensitive you were to ill-timed criticism, and how easily your hearts could be hurt, and how some things, which now seem less important, once mattered very much. All this as parents we ask you to remember” (Richard L. Evans, 1968)

2. It is painful to a parent to be treated disrespectfully. “Parents … have hearts that can be hurt; … they, like you, are sensitive to ill-timed criticism and to misunderstanding of their motives. Remember that there is nothing, in righteousness, they would not do for you” (Richard L. Evans 1968

Beaner was in a different class than the one I taught, but she had the same lesson. She told me later that one of her friends said, "I wish my Mom was having this lesson today." The Bean responded, "Tee hee, my Mom is!"

I guess they could see that this was a good lesson for Mothers as well as youth!

Well, I know I'm going to work harder at being respectful and kind this week. How about you? Do you have some good ideas for helping young people learn respect and self reliance? I would love to hear your ideas!


Mike J said...

The longer I'm a parent the more I realize that I don't know near enough about being a good one as I should. It certainly is a work in progress. I don't have any advice because I'm still trying to figure it out.

Linda said...

I don't have any kids but I work with a few. All they ask for is respect and to have their side heard. I encourage them as much as possible. When I see one of them is doing an outstanding job at some task, or if they are giving 100% at something they may not be able to do extremely well but the effort is there, I make it a point to tell them I see that they're doing a good job. It's amazing what a difference that makes in working with these kids. Often they don't hear that at home and it brings me closer to the kids. I think I get more out of it than they do, honestly, to see their smile and maybe hear them say, "Wow, thanks."

Tanielle said...

Wonderful post! I needed to hear that lesson as well(course the one I got in Relief Society I needed to hear too):-) I also tune my kids out if they whine or fly off the handle, but like you said if they act a little more grown-up, I listen. My oldest is still only 11, but he's growing up, and we can have the best, and most fun conversations. I need to remember those quotes you shared! Beautiful!

Have a great Monday!


Jenny86753oh9 said...

Hmmmm...My kids aren't at the teen stage yet, but scarily enough my oldest is already starting to show some teen attitude. He was always a bit advanced. I have to really step back and calm myself down and try to talk to him logically instead of my common knee-jerk reaction of, "Don't you even think of giving me that kind of reaction...blah,blah..." Your post was perfect timing for me after this weekend! Thanks!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

I love this lesson - thank you for sharing. I think it's important to remember to give children (even young ones) your respect so they can learn what it is. Most kids stop listening to their parents by age 3 or 4 (I can't remember which) and the reason sited is because parents don't listen to them. I find myself sometimes "not listening" to Monsoon, and I think about how it makes him feel... it's so easy to do, but it makes such a big impression on them that I have to continually remind myself to stop and listen to him.

As for teens, I'm not quite there yet. :)

babbler said...

Thank you for taking the time to slide over to Slug's Rest for a visit and a mention of that secret word! You are the a winnah! All I need now is a way to send you this gift. You can email me at with a mailing address and I will send it. I am so proud of your rapid sliding ability! Have a fun day today, Love Mrs. Slug

Dawn said...

I loved your thoughts and comments. I wish I'd known all this about 35 years ago and had had the courage to use it. Sometimes, just getting through a day was my goal.

Jenny-Jenny said...

Often just getting through the day is the goal. But hopefully getting through it with a few more successes than otherwise.
Mom~ you did a great job...just look at your posterity!

JoLyn said...

Good lesson, Jenny. I wish I could have been there:)