As director of pyc Edmond, I exhort our youth to acknowledge adults and camp staff as they walk past. I believe this shows respect—rather than the young person ignoring the authority figure. This past year, a few still had trouble with this, unintentionally showing a lack of respect.
On two separate occasions, upon entering the John Amos Field House, I ran into a couple of younger campers. Both times, the boys looked at me, but then they waited for me to say, “Hi, so and so!” to them. Then, in reply, they said, “Hi!”—and that was it.
After pyc, one of the same two boys was working on campus, and he did the same thing again. This time, I discretely told him that he could address me first, including saying my name.
In thinking of subjects that will help our teens in years to come, my mind keeps coming back to this. Boys weren’t the only offenders at pyc this year: On one occasion, I saw a girl look directly at a less popular girl—and then turn away to go talk to a more popular girl.
The subject of respect is an important one for our youth to learn. There are some practical steps you can take to show more honor and respect—to your parents, of course, but also to the elderly, to your teachers, to your bosses and to each other.
In a recent sermon about the fifth commandment, Pastor Joel Hilliker brought special attention to Malachi 4:5-6 and how Herbert W. Armstrong as the end-time Elijah restored family—turning the hearts of every member of the family to each other, including, most importantly, the hearts of the fathers to the children. The father must lead his family—teaching respect and honor—but the children must reply in kind.
Are your hearts turned toward your parents? If wisdom begins with the fear of the Eternal (Proverbs 9:10), then the fear of the Eternal, for children, begins with fearing their parents.
Leviticus 19:3 says, “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths, I am the Lord your God.”
Mr. Hilliker said that the main thrust of Satan’s attack is against God’s government—and that a child’s first exposure to government is in the family. If Satan can create disrespect for God’s Family government in a child, that child will grow into an adult with no respect for any form of government. This, in turn, will make him incapable of administering government in his own life and home as an adult—only perpetuating the cycle.
One of the biggest ways—a biblically commanded way—that youths can show respect to their elders is brought out in Leviticus 19:32: “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.”
Standing when an adult walks into the room is a policy in place at Herbert W. Armstrong College, Imperial Academy and Philadelphia Youth Camp—and it should be implemented in the home.
An article from the July-August 2008 Royal Vision titled “What Is Your Child’s Attitude Really Like?” by Pastor General Gerald Flurry and myself, says:
Do we teach our children to respect the elderly? Do the older children stand up when an elderly person walks into the room? This is even a lost art for adults today!
Our Western society has deteriorated to such a dreadful state that our elderly are pushed aside, shamefully treated and ignored by young people. This should not be so among our children. This world idolizes youth when it should be greatly esteeming the elderly! If our children are taught to respect the elderly, the elderly can share much wisdom and advice with them.
What about other guests, relatives and friends with whom we come into contact? Our children should respect all adults. We need to teach our children to respect authority whether it be a teacher, a policeman or a neighbor.
In a society glorifying youth, you must exercise an appreciation for age, experience and wisdom. You should not interrupt or—even worse—walk through adult conversations.
Although I did not realize it at the time, through Aunt Mabel, God taught me a fundamental lesson that all young people must learn: to give honor to and hold high respect for men and women who are older and wiser than they. My growing-up years are proof that honor and respect for older people opens up great benefits not only to children, but also to parents, neighborhoods, states and even nations.
Younger people should have such deep respect for an older person that they immediately stand up when a white-haired person enters a room. God doesn’t consider seniors a waste of breath like Satan’s world does. They are an invaluable source of knowledge and wisdom, which can only be acquired through life experience. Showing honor and respect to older men and women is, ultimately, fearing God Himself! One of God’s names is “Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:9). Compared to God, the oldest human being alive today is just a several-minute-old newborn.
Train yourself to stand when someone in authority over you enters a room—and if the time is right, talk to them too. It would be a missed opportunity to just stand up for adults without ever speaking to them!
Most educational institutions reject the wisdom filed away in our history records. You’ve no doubt seen tv hosts on the streets, in parks, at beaches or at the mall, questioning the younger generation on simple facts and receiving crazy replies. Western society is rejecting the wisdom stored up within the experience of our elderly. Young people, learn to honor and respect older people until it is natural.
Our civilization is collapsing because our families are falling apart! Ephesians 6:1-4 tell us how society should be: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
We don’t see this in society today. We see kids glued to their devices, making little to no eye contact, and speaking evil of their parents—and they think nothing of it. When they have problems, they inevitably want to blame their parents and never themselves. This should never be the case in God’s Church, if we are trying our hardest. With God’s help, you should want to please your parents out of deep love and respect for them.
In a 1958 letter, Richard Armstrong observed the connection between observing the Sabbath and rising before the hoary head—just two verses apart in Leviticus 19 (verse 30 and verse 32). This might be the one time in the week when you are in close contact with several older people, and it provides a beautiful opportunity to practice how to relate to the elderly. Be friendly, and look them in the eyes so they don’t have to bend down to speak with you. Answer their questions with more than one-syllable answers—complete sentences—and speak up, especially when you are talking to elderly members. It is frustrating for the elderly, whose hearing may be declining, if they can’t hear you.
These older members have lived through some amazing history. Listen attentively to your elders while you still can. Once they die, their wisdom is sealed with them! As Deuteronomy 32:7 says, “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.”
And it’s not just you who benefits from this interaction. There’s no telling what impact you can have on the older brethren. Many of our brethren cannot travel to where their scattered children and grandchildren live. For example, my daughter-in-law’s parents are from South Africa. They only see their granddaughter when they are able to travel all the way to headquarters from South Africa, and that is not a cheap trip. There are brethren all over the world in similar situations. Reach out to those people when you get the chance. They are the ones who need interaction!
In a March Youth ‘81 article entitled “Certainly, Sir!” Mr. Armstrong wrote:
“I would like another pat of butter, please.” “Certainly, sir,” replied the busboy as we breakfasted in a San Francisco hotel.
It was not so much what he said. It was the manner in which it was spoken that started a train of thought.
“Why is it,” I began philosophizing to my wife, “that we Americans are so ill-trained in good manners and the use of the English language? This busboy is evidently English. I doubt if one in a hundred college seniors in America, ready for graduation from college, could speak and act with the grace and culture of this English busboy. Yet in every other phase of education they would all probably show much further advancement than this young man.
“In other words, he probably has no more than a high school education, yet because he has been reared in an English home he appears to have more education than the average American college graduate. …
“Did you notice the manner in which this busboy said, ‘Certainly, sir’? It bespoke a developed, experienced personality. It wasn’t said in a hesitant, self-conscious manner. It was spoken in the manner to which he is accustomed by long experience. Back of it, and reflected in his voice, was a personality habitually trained in easy, courteous, respectful and fluent self-expression.”
This is the way that teens should speak to adults. Strive to speak in a courteous, respectful and fluent manner to those in authority over you.
In an August 8, 2011, article entitled “How To Be Respectful: Four Essential Rules,” financial magazine Forbes gave these following rules pertaining to respecting others:
1. The Golden Rule. Treat others how you want to be treated.
2. The ‘It’s A Small World’ Rule. … No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do for a living, the bubble in which you exist is much, much smaller than you think. Because of this, you always want to treat everyone—clients, subordinates, and co-workers alike—as if they will one day be your boss … because they very well could be.
3. The ‘Hidden Value’ Rule. … Believe that everyone provides some kind of value, even if it’s not abundantly clear on the surface. Trust that the person standing in front of you has redeeming qualities that, if you knew more about them, would inspire, delight and enchant you. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
4. The ‘Everyone is Special’ Rule. Recognize that everyone comes from a different place, and they all bring vast amounts of experience and wisdom with them.
There is a certain kind of respect that is wrong, however. James 2:1 says, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” Respect, in this case, means partiality or favoritism. Don’t prefer certain friends because of their style or certain people because they are wealthy, but look for the inner moral and spiritual value as God and Jesus Christ do.
In The Epistle of James, Mr. Gerald Flurry writes:
Sadly this world is based on persons respecting persons. That partiality is the curse of mankind! It causes endless problems. People discriminate on the basis of wealth, privilege, sex, race, education, culture, talent—any number of things. I’m a good-looking person, and they’re ugly. I’ve got class, and they have none. I don’t like that person’s race.Those problems are a direct result of a failure to understand God’s Family. …
God’s Church must be different from the world. We must treat every person with the highest respect, not shutting anyone out of the Family of God. We even have to be careful to avoid favoring one minister over another.
Look at this spiritually—this is God’s Family! And those in the world are potential God Family members. Understanding the God Family clarifies it all. All humanity has that potential.
God’s people must be an example to the world of showing no partiality, and treating each member of Christ’s Body with honor. That way of life must begin within the Church, because God wants it to reach every corner of the world! “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, and especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Hod to the Head, Jesus Christ, and then reach out to all those within God’s Church, and then everyone in the world, as we have the opportunity.
Psalm 138:6 says, “Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.” God regards the proud only at a distance but does not admit them into His fellowship—unlike the humble, whom He has respect for.
Ephesians 6:9 says, “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” God doesn’t show partiality toward anyone, and neither should you. Get to know the “less popular” teens—that’s what God would do!
“Respect of persons” is not the kind of respect God is looking for. In fact, it is so far removed from God’s character to have respect of persons that He purposely calls the weak and base (1 Corinthians 1:27). Mr. Armstrong often said that God could use rocks to do the Work if we refused. How could we think we are inherently better than anyone else in this world when God doesn’t?
God sees the value and beauty in every human because each of us is created in His image and has an incredible human potential. The more we cultivate godly respect for each other, the more godly character we develop. God doesn’t have respect of persons; He has respect for persons. With God’s mind in us, we will have respect for persons too. Any seeming preference God might have is based on peoples’ attitudes and actions (1 Peter 1:17). God will bless those who conform more fully to His way of life and judge every one of us by our works (Matthew 16:27).
In just a few short years, Jesus Christ will return to Earth and set up the government of God. He plans to restore those of advanced age to their rightful place in society—at the top. Zechariah 8:4-5 says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.”
Could you paint a more beautiful portrait of the peace and happiness that will break out worldwide when Christ rules the Earth? An often bitter generation gap between teens and older people won’t exist anymore. Every day will be Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Children’s Day—Family Day.
Learn to respect your parents, the elderly, your peers and everyone in authority over you today—and you will be the teachers that everyone respects in the World Tomorrow.