Showing Respect

I just read a blog that rather astounded me.  It was from a homeschooling mother who feels that she should not have to teach her child to be respectful toward others.  Her reason was that if her child had to show respect, that implied that someone else was more important than she.  So, I decided to look up the word respect and see why this mother had such a strong reaction against teaching her child to call adults by “Miss” or “Mister”.

You see, I always understood the word “respect” (in reality) to mean being polite and courteous toward others.

But, after looking up the definition in, I can see how this mother is upset by the Southern tradition for children (or those who are younger) to call their elders Miss Jane or Mr. Jason.   Her perspective of what respect is happens to be totally different than my perspective.  There were two different descriptions that apply to relationships:

  1. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability;
  2. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment

She evidently looks at it as a bowing down to another person in a way that makes one person less important than another.  I look at it as showing proper acceptance or courtesy and acknowledgement.

Acknowledgement?  Yes, acknowledgement.  Let’s say our neighbor is a woman in her 50s.  Has she earned the right to be respected?  Not necessarily, if one’s definition of earning that right would be being a doctor or saving his life or something.  Is she more deserving of respect than my son?  No.  By being respectful toward her, my son is not lowering himself as something inferior.  He is acknowledging her years of life experience and honoring her for them.  Should she be expected to call him Mr. for the same reason?  No.  She should speak respectfully to him instead of putting him down or any of a number of ways that can disrespect a child.  But, she doesn’t need to honor him for his many years of life experience that are far above hers because those years of life experience don’t exist for him yet.

If I speak to the President (not likely to happen since I don’t run in his circles), regardless of whether I agree with him or not and regardless of whether I think he’s earned that respect with his actions, I would speak respectfully.  Why?  Because of his position.   But, if I speak to the lady next door who is 20 years older than me (or maybe 50), does it mean that I shouldn’t be respectful just because she isn’t a President or a doctor, etc.?  Absolutely not.  Unless she invites me to call her by her first name, I’ll call her Mrs. Jones or Miss Stacy or whatever her name may be.  And my son, who is a lot younger, will also learn to be respectful toward her.

Why?  Because showing respect toward one’s elders is simply “good manners”.  I strongly believe (and have experienced in life) that people who have good manners and are respectful towards others receive respect in return.  People who are not polite and have lousy manners… well, they aren’t exactly earning respect for themselves, are they?

Culture has a lot to do with it as well.  In this homeschool Mom’s blog she mentioned Germany.  In some cultures people call each other by their first names when they get to know each other, regardless of age difference.  In other cultures, like here in the South, it’s disrespectful and shows poor manners to call someone who is older than you by his/her first name unless invited to do so.  So, if I lived in Germany, I would respect that culture and say it was OK for my son to call a 70 year old man Johann if that’s what he asked him to do.  But, I moved to the Southern States as an adult and do not live in a culture such as in Germany.  My son is growing up in a culture where it is impolite for him to call a 70 year old man Joe unless specifically invited to do so by Joe.

I think that the Bible sheds a clear light on the matter of respect.  It says we are to show respect regardless.  We don’t show respect only if someone else shows respect toward us.  We don’t show respect only if they’ve earned it.  We simply honour others.

Romans 12:10 has a very simple instruction.  “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, give preference to one another in honour.” (NASB) Another version says it in a slightly different manner:  “Love one another in brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honour.”  (ESV)

To teach my son to disrespect adults in this Southern culture by calling them by their first name (when that is uninvited) is simply unacceptable.  I want him to grow up to be a man with excellent manners who has no problem being respectful and showing respect even if people don’t necessarily deserve it, because that is the kind of man who has the quality of character to earn respect.  Yes, I want my child to be respected and I would not put up with adults talking to him in a disrespectful manner.  I will not put up with him speaking to adults in a disrespectful manner, either.  Nor will I disrespect another adult in this Southern culture and tell them that they must call my child Mr. if they want him to call them Mr.

Culture has a lot to do with it.  Good manners have a lot to do with it.  But, most of all, we show respect and honour to others regardless of whether we think they deserve it or not because God tells us to treat others that way.

Words to think about…  read on.

Run, Leap, Dance, Peace: Fitness for Life and Joy

Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation…Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forget to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here. -Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.


Last year, at some point (before I separated blogs…and it’s way back there), I wrote how clutter adversely affects your health. Since then, I have had two conversations with author friends of mine on the subject. One has opted to aim for a minimalist lifestyle, which has some perks. There is a correlation between the amount of stuff you have in your house and weight gain. Ever seen Clean House? In my opinion…

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Taco Bell and… Heartburn

I love Taco Bell.  At least I used to love it.

I remember going to Taco Bell often… years ago.  But, I haven’t been for a very long time.  So, last night I took my special needs son out to his bowling club and then dinner while my husband took our little guy out for a Cub Scouts activity and dinner.  We have a Taco Bell/KFC combination near us.  He chose KFC (he LOVES chicken anything) and I chose Taco Bell, deciding to get a Beef Burrito Supreme.

With anticipation (from my memory of what they used to taste like), I took a bite.

First of all, they may as well have called it a refried bean burrito.  Most of it was refried beans.  Evidently, this location uses the seasoned meat and sour cream as a condiment to be used very sparingly in the burrito.  So, the combined flavor of the seasoned meat, tomatoes and sour cream  that I used to love was greatly missing.  But, secondly… evidently I can’t deal with food like that anymore.  Last night I paid for my choice all night long with major heart burn.  (Sigh)

So, today I am taking it easy on my stomach.

We live in a society where heartburn is prevalent for young and old alike.  People pop medication like it’s going out of style.  One of the “behavioral changes” that I read about when I looked up how to deal with heartburn without medication was to stay away from fat and spices.  Uh huh.  I’m sure there was fat in that burrito, but I grew up with spices and that wasn’t spicy at all.  All I tasted through most of it was bland refried beans mixed with lettuce, tomatoes, a smidge of sour cream and finally… during the last two bites, some seasoned meat.  The burrito wasn’t worth the misery it caused afterwards.  (So, if the family chooses taco Bell again, perhaps I’ll opt for a chicken soft taco that just has chicken, lettuce and tomato.)

The next burrito I eat will be one of my homemade ones.  I say it over and over again, but it’s so true.  There’s nothing like homemade!  My husband agrees.  You know what’s in your food and you know how to season it to your own taste buds.

Like Chicken Nuggets? Think again…

OK…  I have just been completely grossed out.  My cousin wrote an eye-opening blog about chicken nuggets that I just have to share with you.  (Thanks, Beth… I think.  :-))  Go to if you want to read about it.  After reading it and seeing how chicken nuggets are made (not all fast food chicken nuggets are made with this stuff), you may not want to buy them ever again!

Tonight’s menu in my house is breaded, baked chicken strips, sweet potato fries and a salad.   Yup!  I’m using real chicken breast, real sweet potatoes that I’ll be cutting into fry-size pieces, and real vegetables that don’t have any preservatives in them.  I add a number of spices to my breading mixture for maximum flavor.  The whole thing takes about 35 minutes to make… 40 minutes max.  If I were to go into town to our nearest fast food place it would take me 15 minutes driving each way and whatever wait in line that I have in order to pick up chicken nuggets or chicken strips, fries and a preserved salad.  How about that… home made food (and I know each and every ingredient) in the same amount of time it takes to go to the fast food place and get dinner with mystery ingredients.

Let’s be fair.

Wendy’s uses all white meat.  And since 2003, McDonalds HAS been using all white meat instead of MSP (Mechanically Separated Poultry) in their chicken nuggets.  However, there are still a lot of ingredients added that you won’t have in food that is made from scratch at home.   But, really look at the frozen packaged chicken nuggets that you might buy in the freezer section of your grocery store.  What kind of chicken does it say is in there?

What are the ingredients of these fast food chicken nuggets according to Wikipedia?  As of October 9, 2010, McDonalds ingredients are as follows: Chicken, water, sodium phosphates battered and breaded with bleached wheat flour, water, wheat flour, modified food starch, salt, spices [wheat gluten, dextrose (sugar), paprika, yeast, garlic powder, rosemary], patrially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseet oil with mono- and diglycerides, leavening (socium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), natural flavor (plant source) with extractives of paprika.  The nuggets are fried in vegetable oil (Canola, corn, soybean and hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ – which is tert-butyl Hydroquinone, an anti-oxidant that the FDA approves as a food additive – and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethypolysiloxane, a silicone derivative is added as an antifoaming agent.

Tasty, eh!   Ever tried to make homemade fried chicken with tert-butyl hydroquinone and dimethypolysiloxane fried in partially hydrogenated oils?

I can’t say it enough.  Homemade is not only tastier, it’s fresher and healthier (because it doesn’t have all of the additives).

It’s interesting though.  If you KNEW how a chicken nugget was made, would you still eat it?  Many people would.  Here’s a little experiment from Jamie Oliver, Food Revolution, that acually failed because the kids chose to eat the food that was not good for them even though they SAW how it was made… all because it was in cute, familiar, chicken nugget like patties and they were hungry.

Retrieved from

Resolutions or Goals?

The new year always brings about a slew of resolutions that people make (such as losing weight, getting organized, changing one’s life, etc.)  Those are pretty generic things, to be frank.  How about turning those resolutions into goals.  Is it just a matter of symantics?  No.  The two are different.   You need to start with the goal and then resolve to accomplish it.  So many people ignore the goal setting and planning part of their resolutions.  Then they get discouraged and stop.


First of all, a resolution is a “formal expression of opinion or intention” according to  It also means “to have the determination to do something”.  There are various other descriptions, but they mean pretty much the same thing.  In most people’s minds, one resolves one’s self to do something.  Well, we can have all of the determination and resolve in the world, but unless we have a specific goal and a plan we’re going to end up breaking our resolutions.


A goal, on the other hand, is much more involved than saying you’ll do something.  A goal is the result you want to see, the achievement toward which you intend to work.  First you set your goal and then you lay out a plan of action on how you’re going to reach that goal.


Resolutions (album)
Image via Wikipedia


My New Year’s resolution may be that I want to learn how to play guitar.  OK, that’s a great resolution.  Unless I set a goal, break it down into steps, make a plan and then follow through, my resolution means nothing.   So, let’s rephrase that.

My goal is to learn to play the guitar this year.  I plan to start in January and be able to play in a public forum by Christmas time.

Steps:  In January I’ll a buy guitar, find a guitar teacher (or a video and books) and set a start date for my first lesson.  I don’t have a lot of time so I have to limit practice time, yet make it consistent.  Each evening I’ll practice for 20 minutes initially until my figures develop calluses and then increase practice time to 30 minutes a day.  (If it hurts at first, I’ll still meet that daily goal and refuse to give up.)  Then throughout the year I can set goals for myself (game and music nights with friends, picnics where I’ll play guitar and sing crazy songs with the kids, etc.).  Finally, at Christmas I will have a recital for friends and family that features a number of songs and a fun party.  (I’ll be sure to let my friends know what I’m doing so that they can support and encourage me by being there all along, even through the bluffs and mistakes.)

OK… so that’s simple.  Once you have a guitar teacher, he/she pretty much sets weekly goals for you.  But, what about if you’re doing something on your own?

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, personally.  They’re too vague and don’t have any legs (action plans) to them.  Let’s take a real goal that I’ve set for myself.  I intend to be 75 pounds lighter by December 31 than I was on January 1st.

Wow!  That’s a huge goal and could be very discouraging. But, the good thing about goals is that you break them down into smaller goals.  75 pounds in a year is only 6 1/4 pounds per month (or a little less than 1 1/2 pounds a week).  That’s achievable.

First step:  I set my primary goal.    Second Step:  I break it down to little, reachable goals.  Third Step:  I make a plan as to how I’m going to get there.

Exercise, eat healthy and balanced meals, watch portion sizes, etc.  You have to be very specific so that you have daily activities and things to pay attention to… and before you know it the week has passed and you’ve reached your goal.  Then the month has passed.  Then half a year and you’re half way to your goal.   Don’t get discouraged.  Evaluate your plan each month to make sure that you’re on track.  Before you know it, the year is gone and you’ll have reached your goal, learned new healthy habits in order to maintain your new weight and have gotten healthier.  If you don’t reach your goals, don’t get discouraged.  Just re-evaluate and move forward from where you are.  Look at it one week at a time.  Once you’re reached that goal, look to the next small goal.

So instead of setting “resolutions” for yourself, set goals with steps and a plan of action.  Then comes the resolution to follow through step by step with your eyes always on the end goal, your final achievement.

Preparing for 2012

It’s been a busy day.  I’m determined to start 2012 off fresh.  So, I’ve been sorting, scrubbing, cleaning, going through clutter (it’s amazing how much clutter a family can have), tossing stuff…  phew!  What a load of trash we had this week.  But, I’m seeing progress.

I’m planning our New Year’s Eve dinner/evening and will start making everything that can be made ahead of time.  One of the things that I like to do is make homemade rolls and have discovered that I can make them the day before and let them slowly rise in the fridge overnight.  Then I take them out of the fridge to come to room temp for about 1/2 hour while the oven is heating up before baking them.  (This works really well, by the way, if you want to have sticky buns or cinnamon rolls first thing in the morning.)

We’re going to enjoy our New Year’s Eve celebration as a family.  I hope you enjoy yours.