Advice Column, Health, Lifestyle, Parenting


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A while back I was doing research & developing a workshop for an NGO on conflict. Amongst other things, it deals with certain areas that create conflict such as people’s different levels of motivation & value structures and is written with Life Coaching ethos in mind.

The purpose is to give everyone attending the course a clear understanding that everyone around us has a distinctly different reality from our own and that it is as equally valid as our own.  And so while I was working through the workbook as well as the required power point presentation it dawned on me that it is really is all about one a little word – Respect.

As a whole human beings do not respect each other. While we understand & acknowledge the concept, in reality, life has become so intense and stressful that most of us are thankful when we make it through yet another day. Never mind your impact on the lives of others.

So what if we started to change this? The big question of course is how, because this lack of respect has become an intrinsic part of our culture.

What if we started with our children? We as parents, while providing security & guidance to our children should be fostering the principle of respect. How? By treating our children with respect. By allowing them to develop into who they are. By not belittling their efforts or enforcing our reality onto them. If more children grew up understanding who they were and being allowed to develop the skills true to themselves, can you just imagine what a difference it could make to the rate our children are diagnosed with various stress related illnesses. A bit dramatic you may think, however, a fundamental lack of respect eats away at the core of your being and feeling has to come out somewhere.

Do you allow your child the freedom to close their bedroom door when they need their space? Do you respect their space by knocking on the door before going into their room? Do you give them the opportunity to express their feelings and ideas, no matter how young they are? Do you guide or do you dictate?

As parents we are responsible for teaching our children respect & tolerance of different belief systems. We are doing them & our country, in fact the world the greatest disservice by teaching them that people with different values, culture, beliefs etc are wrong if they are different to ours.

Why has human kind become so threatened by differences, instead of embracing them and seeing them as for what they are? Different. Not wrong or evil, just different.

It of course doesn’t stop their. We need to put our words into practice & actively show respect for our extended family, yes that includes the mother-in-law, colleagues, people using the same road, people walking passed you. After all, our children learn by watching us. The age of do as I say, is long gone. Children today expect us to honour our word.

Think about it. If we were all just a little bit more respectful in our day to day lives, what a difference it would make. Of course we are all going to have that bad day when all you want to do is rip heads off, there again, if you go back, acknowledge that you were wrong & say sorry, you have gone a long way to earn respect. You have modelled appropriate behaviour. What the other person chooses to do with that is in fact not your concern. They have their own reality to deal with.

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