Aretha spelled it out for us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We all want to receive it — give it to me, give it to me, give it to me, right? What about a desire to do that, though? A desire to give respect? Paradoxically, to receive the respect we all want, we have to learn to give that respect first. As parents, we all want our children to show respect for themselves, for us, and for the other people in their lives. Ultimately, we want to teach our children to act respectfully, because we want them to reasonably expect respect from others, especially in their friendships and relationships.
When I read Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit last year, his concept of keystone habits impressed me. Architecturally, the keystone rests at the top of an arch, and doesn’t really bear that much weight, but it holds the other, weight-bearing stones in place. Not only will the arch fall down if we remove the keystone; the arch can’t be built at all without it. A keystone habit works similarly. It may not require much effort itself, but holds some other, more “weight bearing” habits in place.