This subject is one that I’ve often considered. It’s also one that I’ve heard a lot of feedback on. I really had to come to grips with my own understanding not only as a daughter, but as a single parent raising sons and daughters. I know that my attitude toward my father (even though he’s deceased) will greatly influence the attitudes that my children have towards their father. I also recognize my part as a single mom to create an atmosphere of respect.
When we respect others we are not doing them a favor. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “you better be glad I got some respect for my elders or I would…” the truth is, our actions and our attitudes define who we are, not the people we are upset with. To respect or not to respect, it’s a choice. It’s a choice I can make and it’s not dependent on anyone else’s behavior. (See related post on Choices.)
Each of us need to take responsibility for our own healing. It’s too important to leave in the hands of a father who may or may not care. In a previous blog Keila addresses the importance of forgiveness. This is essential as it will erase any trace of bitterness that might exist. It doesn’t change the circumstances but it does clean out all the weeds of anger and bitterness and create a fertile ground in which good fruit like love and tolerance can grow.
Respect is descriptive of select behavior AND attitudes. I think it would be easier for us to freely offer respect if we consider the position held and not the person who holds the position. A father is a position held by a man who either biologically sires a child or who takes on the responsibility through adoption or guardianship. How they carry out their responsibility is really not as important as how we carry out ours. My freedom and joy comes not as a result of how I’m treated but rather how I react. The latter will determine how I will view myself as a person. Obedience to the laws of God and of nature will free my conscience allowing me to be more productive in all that I do. I said all that to say, I am duty bound as a child (we never stop being the children of our fathers) to honor my father and show him respect: in my speech while talking to others about them, respect in my thought life concerning him, and respect in my actions towards my Dad while in the company of others or alone.
Do you really want change? Take the focus off your Dad, focus on being a better you. Show him how it’s done! Expect nothing, then the little will seem to be more. If he is deceased, forgive him and respect his memory. You won’t be sorry, instead you will gain respect from those around you.
Even good dads sometimes can cause hurt to their children. Saying “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me” goes a long way towards generating respect.