Our Tuesday Tips Podcast for today, October 11 is about respect.

I begin by reading a few paragraphs from one of my favorite books: Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who.

“Believe me,” said Horton. “I tell you sincerely, My ears are quite keen and I heard him quite clearly. I know there’s a person down there. And, what’s more, Quite likely there’s two. Even three. Even four. Quite likely…

“…a family, for all that we know! A family with children just starting to grow. So, please,” Horton said, “as a favor to me, Try not to disturb them. Just please let them be.”

“I think you’re a fool!” laughed the sour kangaroo And the young kangaroo in her pouch said, “Me too! You’re the biggest blame fool in the Jungle of Nool!”

And the kangaroos plunged in the cool of the pool. “What terrible splashing!” the elephant frowned. “I can’t let my very small persons get drowned! I’ve got to protect them. I’m bigger than they.” So he plucked up the colover and hustled away.

Through the high jungle tree tops, the news quickly spread:

“He talks to a dust speck! He’s out of his head! Just look at him walk with that speck on that flower!”

And Horton walked, worrying, almost an hour. “Should I put this speck down?…” Horton thought with alarm. “If I do, these small persons may come to great harn.

I can’t put it down. And I won’t! After all

A person’s a person. No matter how small.”

Horton Hears a Who! Dr. Seuss Random House TM 1954

We want and expect our children to be respectful.

I believe in order to receive respect, we must first give respect. Respect is a two way street. If our children are behaving or speaking in a way that we deem is disrespectful, then we need to look at our own words and actions as well as those of other adults in our children’s life.

Twenty-one years ago my husband and I attended a meeting for a new charter school that would be opening close to our home. Our son was 4 years old and I wanted to look into educational options. As we listened to the philosophy of the school they stated,

Respect needs to be earned.

I knew at that moment that this school was not for my child. All people including children of all ages deserve respect and need to be treated with respect no matter their actions. It is hypocritical to expect children to be respectful when we use words and actions that are not respectful to them.

Children are people and yet they are not just mini-adults. They are growing and developing and science now says that children’s brains are not fully developed until their mid to late 20s. We need to keep this in mind with regards to our expectations of their behavior.

Act your age!

You are acting like a child!

Grow up!

I chuckle as I think about these statements. Most likely if you are telling a child to “act his age”, he is in fact, acting his age! And when there are special needs or mental health issues or a situation that raises anxiety, what is appropriate for their age is going to look different than when they are in a place of calm or an engaging setting where they thrive.

Many children want more than anything to Grow up! Children are continuously being told what to do and when to do it and where and all the rules to follow in different settings. There are rules at school and rules at home and possibly different rules at moms house than dads or grandmas or when they are in public settings. They hunger for a sense of independence. It is part of normal child development and can also be a reaction to feeling like they have no control in their lives. Yet, they are dependent on adults for so many things in their lives especially before they are able to drive.

The ability to make a decision to go somewhere and take action to do so is something most of us take for granted.

I invite your to rethink these ideas that have been dominant in our culture for some time.

I invite you to reflect on your own beliefs, values and actions with the children in your life.

I invite you to reflect on the ideas I present here and to remember,

A person’s a person, know matter how small.


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