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The Balance: Raising Respect

The Balance: Raising Respect

Last week, we took at deep dive at a quality we defined by the one that “sees doors of opportunity open and runs into them before they close.” The quality was assertiveness, one we’ve seen in generous measure among the dozens of successful young entrepreneurs we’ve profiled over the years.

Yet as with most any quality, assertiveness without balance can close just as many doors as it opens. Instilling a sense of confidence is vital to raising a child who knows their value, but honing another quality is the key to raising an adult whose success elicits cheers, not groans. 

That quality has another name: respect. 

Respect is the quality that listens before speaking, stands when all seats have been taken, and celebrates when others come in first.

For a young entrepreneur, respect has an added layer of meaning. It’s the ability to present your ideas, ambitions, and dreams in a way that makes “grown ups” want to hear more rather than less. Whether looking to close a sale on a glass of lemonade or close a round of funding, asking for money requires a level of respect for the customer or investor, coupled with the confidence that opened the door in the first place.

To explain, one need look no further than the Queen of Soul who took the time to spell the quality out letter by letter. As Aretha Franklin sings:

“I'm about to give you all of my money

And all I'm askin' in return, honey

Is to give me my propers.”

Parenting respect into our children isn’t as easy as simply deciding to do so. But a few practical tips can be found. The first? Respect isn’t something instilled through demands. As author and psychologist Jerry Wyckoff puts it:

"We don't generally give our children the kind of respect that we demand from them."

Raising respect starts with giving respect. We teach our children not to interrupt by not interrupting them. We teach them to look people in the eye when speaking by resisting the urge to hollar from another room.

Parents.com adds another approach: respect their choices whenever possible. The example they give? Allowing your child to wear mismatched socks when that’s what they select. By respecting their choices, you show respect for the individuality and earn the right to assert respect in return.

Sometimes, showing respect is about the little things. As our free PDF resource How 2 B a Pro describes, a firm handshake, wrinkle-free shirt, and a combed head of hair communicate more in a millisecond than anything else that will follow.

It may all seem small, but as Aretha Franklin taught us, it’s a small thing with major consequences.

All I'm askin' is for a little respect.

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