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 May 6, 2012

Respect Elders


What is Respect


What is an Elder

Acknowledgment of a quality, idea, or skill that you hold in high regard.  


Someone older or more senior in rank. An elder is considered to be the repository of cultural and/or institutional wisdom.


Why it's  Important

Elders, by virtue of age and experience, can bring context to the present.  They can link past events and cultural influences that help us understand why things are as they are.


 The Problem

 Pervasive feelings of entitlement displayed in rampant disrespect.  Disrespect is a challenge to your personal worth putting you on defense. 

If we disrespect the elders who bring context to the present, we lose the lessons learned.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  George Santayana


  Examples of Disrespect


Avoiding eye contact

Signals a hidden agenda creating distrust


Closed body language

We don't usually face people we don't like or respect



Signals a lack of interest or regard for the ideas and opinions of the speaker


Standing too close

Invading personal space can feel threatening even if unintended


Inappropriate language

Certainly abusive language and also using slang or words unfamiliar to the listener


Losing your cool Forcefulness is an attempt to coerce respect


 The Tip

You are the elder

 Like it or not, we—yes, you and me—are elders to our kids.  We are older and more senior in rank and are responsible for bringing wisdom to our kids.   How can we do that if we allow our kids to disrespect us?  . . . .  We can’t. 

Influence Requires Respect

This week’s experiment is focused on your own measure of respectful displays to other people—elders, peers, and juniors alike.

Step 1

Choose a Respect Behavior

From the list of disrespect examples above, pick one for which you are somewhat indifferent.    One or more of the examples may be connected to a personal value which could limit your objectivity.


Step 2


Observer Yourself in Action

Select three people, an elder, a peer, and a child.  Intentionally interact with these people and observe your respect cues. While you’re at it, observe the other person’s cues, too. Is he or she mirroring your respect or disrespect?


Step 3


After the interaction, take a moment to assess how you feel about the exchange of respect.  Really, just a minute or so because anything longer is a waste.

If you’re pleased, congratulations!  If you’re not, time to make some changes in how you approach others.


Step 4

Bring the Lesson Home

Now that you have a picture of your patterns of respect, look for similarities in the behavior patterns of your kids.  Hopefully by now we all understand that our kids learn how to behave by watching us in action.

Keep what’s working by continuing your own positive examples and make small changes were needed to demonstrate greater respect. 

It won’t be long before you notice a change in your kids.  It works, every time as long as you’re consistent.



You’ll have proof that you powerfully influence your kids as you link your behavior patterns to theirs. * Yes, even patterns you’re not proud of—it’s all proof of your power. 


Sharpening your respect skills requires that you deepen your understanding of the people with whom you interact. 


As you demonstrate respect to others you are honoring yourself as well.  It’s a 2-fer!

Less Nagging

To respect another requires that you balance shared insights and wisdom with setting limits and discipline.

“History repeats itself, it has to, nobody listens.” Steve Turner 

 Influence Respecting others requires presence to keep pace with their ever changing needs.  You’ll be more powerful to influence your kids if you’re present with them vs. concerned about your performance as a parent. 

Related Articles:   Reality Gets Blurred, Old Year’s Resolutions,

Related Tip of the Week:Manners, Able to Change, Know-It-All, Mother's Day

Holding Hands - Respect for Elders

 Photo courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn

Chime in >> What do you think?

Email Lorraine with your question 





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