Last month, my son received an award in school. Something I really like is that his school gives out character awards as opposed to academic awards. The award my son received was for demonstrating respect.
Of course as his mom, I was very teary and sniffly and proud as could be during the awards assembly. The video I took is jiggly as I wasn’t able to keep the camera still because of my general verklemptness.
As proud as I am of my son, for many many reasons, I can’t helping thinking that it’s utterly unsurprising that he received a respect award; my son has been shown respect since the moment he was born! He was never left to cry it out, but was respected enough to be taken seriously and held. He was never spanked, but was respected enough to be disciplined non-violently. Parental love was never been withdrawn, because we respect that he needs our unconditional acceptance and love. He slept in our bed, because we respected his need to feel close to us during the night. He was breastfed because we respected his need for for closeness and nutrition. He was respected enough to know that he would wean only when he was ready, and leave the family bed only when he was ready.
As he got older and breastfeeding and family beds were no longer in the picture, he is respected enough to be listened to when he’s upset. We respect him enough to use active listening with him. We respect him enough to give him the freedom to explore everything that interests him. We respect him enough to give him specific reasons why he can’t do something particular he asks to do, instead of just saying “Because I said so.”
We respect him enough to model the behavior we expect; we ask him “please” and tell him “thank you”. We respect him enough to never force him to say he’s sorry, especially if he’s not. We respect his observations of his own needs; if he needs time alone, he may take however long he needs. If I am in the wrong, I respect him enough to apologize to him.
Children learn what they live. My son received an award for being raised with respect.