Signs of Respect Include How We Speak with Others.
Unless your boss tells you to call them by their first name, call them “Mr. So and so” or “Mrs. So and so.”
Having been in the military, I would never refer to a full bird Colonel as “hey Jeff” or “sure, Dave!” No, their rank always precedes their LAST NAME: “Yes, Colonel Smith” or “Yes, Ma’am.” Bringing those signs of respect into my home, our children are not on a first name basis with their parents or other adults. They don’t answer adults with “yeah” or “ok.” They say “yes (or no) sir” or “yes (or no) ma’am.”
Where did they learn this?
Their dad and mom. We want to reverse our laid-back, informal, disrespectful and undignified American culture.
We don’t refer to our children’s teachers by their first name, either. Even in discussing them in private, my bride and I still refer to them by their LAST NAMES. “Mr. Jones” or “Mrs. Davis.” Of course, kids make mistakes (we all do), and there’s plenty of grace and understanding for each situation, but there’s always gentle correction. As far as it depends upon me, we are aiming at respect.
If you pastor a church, for children and for parent’s sake, reconsider referring to yourself from the pulpit by your first name. Being so informal and “relational” is by no means a measure of humility, being relational or going to garner you respect.
Your position and office in the kingdom of God is what deserves the respect and not necessarily you, I know. Help people live out 1 Thessalonians 5:12 (ESV).
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.”
We help them live it out by behaving in a manner worthy of their respect.
“Pastor Neil” is a step better then going by my first name, but “Pastor Schultz” is even better. It’s not too formal or creates an unnecessary distance in a relationship. No, it just raises the bar on respect.
I highly recommend you pick up these two MUST DEVOUR resources today:
- A Leader’s Gift: How to Earn the Right to Be Followed by Barry Banther. He coined the phrase, “Leadership isn’t just something you do, it’s someone you become.” You might be like a lot of leaders today: trying to succeed by meeting your numbers, but finding it’s more difficult to get your team to perform. You know you have to change, but you don’t know how. This book is a business book filled with “best practices,” but it directly applies to family life as well as your ministry. Leave me a comment to let me know what you liked about it.
- Love and Respect in the Family by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. An unloved child (or teen) negatively reacts in a way that feels disrespectful to a parent. A disrespected parent negatively reacts in a way that feels unloving to the child. This dynamic gives birth to the FAMILY CRAZY CYCLE. God reveals ways to defuse the craziness with our children from preschooler to teen, plus how to motivate them to obey and how to deal with them when they don’t. In the Bible, God has spoken specifically to parents on how to parent. This book is about that revelation.