We'd like our boys (and daughter...eventually) to show respect to adults they interact with in their lives. My two boys are 7 and 9. It's been about two years now that I've been bothered by the fact that they don't look other adults in the eye or speak respectfully to them when they are spoken to. But, when I tell them to show respect, I tell them to definitely look people in the eye, but from there, I haven't made up my mind whether they should address adults as sir or ma'am, Mr. and Mrs., Miss or Mrs., Mr. (firstname) or Mrs. (last name).
But, here in the south (I live in Tennessee), most kids address adults as "sir" or "ma'am". We've tried the southern way and sometimes it feels awkward. They boys don't always do it and they don't want to look adults in the eye. Shoot, I can't even get them to hug correctly. When, they go to hug their "Amo" or "Apo", they go into the hug and turn around backwards...that's a new one to me. I feel very southern, which is not natural to me, to teach them the "sir" or "ma'am" route. I guess if the military teaches its privates to show respect to those higher in rank, it can't be all that bad.
So, I'm not quite sure my intent with this blog post other than to share (with my little world or readers...which is very VERY small) my thoughts and challenges of teaching my kids to show respect to other adults. I haven't made a clear decision on this, and that's half my problem. My kids are going to be so confused about this issue unless I decide on something soon.
The Word of God is the ultimate authority for our family. I don't know why I don't turn to God sooner...well, I do know why...I'm self-centered by nature...aren't we all? Regardless, here's what it says about children respecting adults:
"Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord." - Leviticus 19:32
Here are a couple of articles on the subject that I've read...or at least, skimmed...