Parenting Respect, Eye Contact & Speaking to Others
Why do we make excuses?
Recently we went to a dinner at the family of a new friend and I was so impressed the way that the children looked us in the eye, spoke to us carrying on a wonderful conversation all about themselves, their family and really participated in the evening.
While we have always taught our children to do that when in any setting it caught us completely off guard to find these children so engaging. At a very early age we always taught to our children make complete eye contact with others, respond when asked a question and relate not only to adults but to their peers. They didn't always have to carry on a complete conversation, that came in time, but they were required to answer any questions being asked of them instead of ignoring them. Now our children are grown and they are never hesitant to relate in any situation.
I have been struck recently at how many times we have walked up to parents with children, spoken to them and their children immediately turn their heads away. The parents always offer these excuses. "She's just shy, she's hungry, or they're tired." Really? Are they really shy, hungry, or tired? Are any of those excuses really valid reasons to be rude? Aren't all of us always hungry, tired or just not feeling like being kind or social? I began to think too of the grown-ups I know who's parents probably gave these excuses for them their entire lives, who now have trouble looking people in the eye and giving them a simple greeting. If only their parents had known to take the time to teach them how to engage. I do realize that every child take a different amount of time and effort to encourage.
When we see that our children struggle in a particular area such as this, we need not make excuses for them. We need to encourage them, work on it and make it fun! I mean truly go home and work on it. Practice with them. We don't want our children to speak to strangers on the street, but we do want our children to speak to those we know when spoken to out of love and respect. I truly believe that your child will respond if you practice with them and teach them that it is important to show honor and respect to others. This also teaches that love is not rude. We use to make this teaching tool a game. Our children would run in and out of the room dozens and dozens of times and we would wear hats and have different voices and make up all sorts of fun scenarios for them. It took lots of practice and then we would give them little "heads-up" on the way to places as to what to expect and what we expected of them. They felt as proud of themselves as we did of them when they succeeded!
I Corinthians 13:5 Love is not rude. Titus 3:2 Be courteous to all men.