It's not like there's yelling (usually) or name-calling going on. And, really, most of the disrespect comes from a 7-year-old, who is still learning to control himself and not blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. But, I'll speak for myself when I say I find myself realizing, after the fact, that I could have said something much differently to get my point across in a more pleasant way. Different tone of voice. Different body language. Maybe even a different choice of words. Just "different!"
I want to be different! I don't want to speak disrespectfully to loved ones or acquaintances just because that way of relating gets laughs on TV. I don't want to resort to disrespect to get my own way or to manipulate guilt out of someone who doesn't live up to my expectations.
I want my son to be different, too, in his heart, in his attitudes, in the things that matter. Those things don't develop automatically. The human heart is born living selfishly. Even when a child has surrendered his heart to the Savior, Jesus Christ, he needs to be trained to walk in a straight line, for the opportunities to veer here and there are countless! What better way to train a child than to model what is right?
Little Mister's daddy is more patient than I. I can't rest on that, though.. I'm responsible for my own behavior. Our words have the power to heal or kill, encourage or destroy. How dumb of me to destroy hours of patient training of my son with a foolish word or comment uttered in a moment of exasperation!
After running the idea past Kevin last night, this morning I instituted the new "Mighty Mouth Jar." Any one of the three of us who speaks disrespectfully in word or tone has to deposit a dime. The penalty charge will get steeper as time goes on. When our project is over, the money will go to church or to someone who needs it. Just not us! :)
Before LM went to bed tonight, we counted the dimes. I reminded him (and myself--one of the dimes was mine!) that speaking disrespectfully is costly. It costs more than dimes--more than any amount of money we could place in that jar. It costs the person receiving the disrespect an immeasurable amount, not to mention the relationship between the disrespect-er and the disrespect-ee.
We'll see how it goes . . . :)