We love having potlucks here and we were just waiting for the weather to change from hot, muggy and with mosquitoes to more balmy nights where we could enjoy a “camp fire” and a starry night. I ask every family to bring a main meal and a dessert and we share dinner together in a very casual way.
As I was preparing though I had a thought. We often ask the kids to go first for the main course, and the adults to go first for dessert, though we often have icecream/cones for the kids instead of the dessert table. It dawned on me, that the reason we do this is because when we started potlucks at our place – about 15/16 years ago – most of the kids were little and it simply easiest for mums to get the kids served first. But kids grow up!! And we should have changed things a long time ago.
So this time when Peter opened the meal table with a prayer he also gave directions for the kids to wait till after the adults, encouraging them that this was a way to show respect and honour to the adults. We invited the mums and dads who wanted to help their young kids to go first, then the rest of the adults, and then the kids. We did the same with dessert. The kids responded beautifully.
A few parents actually thanked us for directing things this way – it is a good thing when you come together with a wider family and can work together with the same values.
Another Opportunity to teach Honour and Respect
A few weeks back we had a homeschool campout at our place (which, due to a storm, ended up as a sleepover indoors) and we gave opportunity to practice this there too.
At dinner I said to the kids that we were going to let the girls go first. Well of course the girls got all proud and rubbed it in (yay for us!!) and the boys grumbled (awwwww!!) I quickly addressed these heart attitudes by correcting the girls by telling them that when a boy does something kind for them their response should be to say ‘thank you’. And boys – you need to be willing to be kind this way. So we practiced the girls saying thank you!
Then at breakfast the next morning it was interesting to watch the kids process this idea of respecting and honouring others. Without me saying anything, some of the group were pushing the little kids first (we had 4yo – 16yo here). Some where promoting the girls go first. They jumbled themselves into a line at the cereal table with some not giving a thought to anyone else going first. I thought I’d mix it up a bit and asked them what did God say about lining up? One of the boys said “two by two” which, though a good answer, wasn’t what I was thinking! I then shared that Jesus said, the first be last and the last be first. (Matthew 20:16). So I had them about face and the person who was last led the way to the front of the table. It was a way of us, as a group, honouring the big kids, because they often do things for the little kids (the big kids had placed themselves at the end of the line).
There are many ways that we can show honour and respect but we need to teach it; we need to explain it and show what it looks like. We need to be aware of opportunities, day in and day out, that we can teach our kids to show honour and respect.
How to Help your Kids Grow in Character If you want your kids to grow in character you need to do more than teach a good character lesson. Character is built by making daily choices.
Manners – Are they Really That Important? Before we can impart good manners to our kids we need to know why they are so important. Why do we have manners? And are they still relevant today?
Does Your Child Recognise Authority outside the Home? There are many authority figures outside the home be it teachers, coaches, a boss or team leader that our children need to listen to and obey.
Over to you:
Can you see situations in your family life where you can teach honour and respect? Determine today to make the most of that opportunity.