The teenage world can be very tough. Dan Darling, writing for LifeWay, says,” The pressures of adolescence have always been a difficult crucible for young people but today it seems easier to be victimized and a perpetrator of verbal violence. Parents have an increasingly difficult job in protecting their children from bullying and raising kids who respect the unique human dignity of all people. It’s a difficult job.”
It is a tough job to teach our students RESPECT, however, it is Scriptural. The golden rule, Matthew 7:12 says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Many of us, particularly those who grew up with siblings, were told this very verse from our parents. We are told to respect others, treat them nice, and don’t disrespect them. Dan Darling continues, “Christians don’t always practice this well.” Some of our own children, students, and even our most seasoned followers of Christ, do not practice “respecting others” as a priority. Furthermore, when we don’t make it priority, we also diminish our witness in front of a lost and dying world. Darling continues, “There should be a distinct flavor in the way that Christians speak. Every argument, every conversation, every social media post should include grace. In Colossians 4:6 it says “Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.”
Teenagers feel the pressure at times to be disrespectful. One teacher wrote about how some of her well behaved students started “acting out” and being disrespectful. She stated the root cause was, “because some of their friends were doing so.” Essentially, they caved to the pressure of friends instead of being a leader among their peers. We need students to be bold for Christ among their friends! Teaching them to be respectful is imperative.
It is important that we help our teens see the need to respect others. Not only will they be doing what is right, but they honor God and can be a powerful witness for Christ.