I USED TO BE A PERFECT PARENT......and then I had kids. I used to try to figure out which one of them stole from me in utero all that wonderful knowledge I had about raising the perfect kids and what magic could bring it back to me. Reality set in eventually and I realized I am not perfect, my children are not perfect and our world is not perfect. This realization is the beginning of true parenthood. I now have room to make mistakes and learn from them but more importantly, my kids have room to make mistakes and grow from them. What a perfect parent I am. Ooops!

This realization was the first step in showing my children what respect is. Respect is a value that is important for us to pass along to our children and can most effectively be done through demonstration on a day to day basis. Teaching respect takes many forms; respect for themselves, respect for others, respect for property, respect the life around us and respect for our differences. It is an ongoing process, critical for our children because it is the foundation upon which many of our character traits are built and very importantly, the foundation upon which THEY will judge how others treat them now and in the future.

Most of us in our day to day dealings with our children and peers are respectful. We say hello when passing, we return phone calls as soon as we can, we respect others property, we respect the laws of the land and we fulfill our kids many daily requests or explain why it is not possible. This is all a part of being respectful to others. The only problem is that we don’t generally call it respect. The first time a child usually hears that word is when we say, "Don’t be disrespectful to..." (if you haven’t said it yet, hang on your day is coming) but do they know what that means if we haven’t labeled those behaviors they do have as being respectful? Contrary to popular belief, kids don’t just wake up one day as the "aliens" we call teenagers, it is a 13/14 year learning process. Let’s start to point out to them all those things they do daily which are respectful of themselves and others. Let’s teach them which actions, opinions and language skills are respectful so that when they are disrespectful or pushing that line they know what correction to take without our having to teach it.

Perhaps by teaching them now, they will learn that self respect is not something their friends or peers can give them; but respect will be something they give and therefore demand from both. It gives older children a tool to put into perspective the teasing and taunting that comes with the "alien age" and helps them to put the problem where it belongs...on the one whose mouth is moving. It gives way to the conversation, "Do I respect that person and does their opinion of me count? No?" Problem solved.

Maybe our kids are perfect after all. Ooops!

Barbara Smyly

Author's Bio: 

Introducing: Glenn and Barbara Smyly:

Barbara and Glenn Smyly founded the Alivening Project Inc. in 1982, with the vision of empowering people to create relationships which are more alive, happy, healthy and in love. As a result of their combined strengths, personalities, love and talents, tens of thousands of people have benefited from their seminars, workshops, consultations, rebirthings, book and tapes.

Their commitment to helping people has been so strong that during the past 26 years, they have held many successful weekend seminars each year, in addition to week-long rebirthing training sessions, six month Leadership Training’s, Success Seminars and monthly one day seminars on different topics. The Alivening list of educational programs, conducted throughout the United States, also consists of couples' weekends, singles' weekends, childbirth and parenting training, as well as stress management, money makeover seminars and developing prosperity consciousness.

Both Barbara and Glenn have extensive and varied backgrounds including the intensive study of Est with Founder Warner Erhard and completion of the Guest Seminars Leaders Program, as well as Silva Mind Control. (Glenn took advanced and instructors courses with founder, Jose Silva and conducted Silva Mind Control Classes for over 4 years in South Florida). Barbara and Glenn are certified Rebirthers and Creative Visualization Instructors. After serving as a Staff Sergeant for the Air Force, Glenn majored in psychology. Barbara is also a childbirth educator, a volunteer as a legal advocate for battered women in Somerset County NJ and a member of the Midwifery Association of North America. She has completed Domestic Violence Training.

Barbara studied early childhood education in college and was nominated for the Who's Who in Southwest Florida for four consecutive years. Both Barbara and Glenn are members of the American Seminar Leaders Association and provide workshops that are extremely powerful and productive.

After co-authoring the book All in the Name of Love (now in its second printing), they went on a National Promotional Book Tour which included radio and television interviews. The Smyly's were guest seminar speakers at the National Conference of Sun Rider Chinese Herbs and supplements held in Hawaii. They have appeared on the Richard Bey People Are Talking television show in Philadelphia, as well as conducting seminars for The Catholic widowed, divorced or separated people at Notre Dame.

It is a gift to spend time with Barbara and Glenn. They bring to all their work a high level of energy, intelligence, compassion, a depth of caring and a strong desire to support people in making significant changes in their lives. Glenn has four older children, four grandchildren and the Smyly's have a school-aged son, Michael and a daughter, Ashlea Crystle.