I didn't sleep well at all the night before I was to take my son to the gym and have him work out as much as he could physically to understand what respect was, what it meant to respect me, his own mother, and what his consequences would be should he decide to say, 'to heck with you and your rules.'
After working out with my own trainer and watching time march by, getting other items accomplished with hands a bit shakier than normal, the time fast approached. It was 5 o'clock and time for my son and I to go to the gym and take on an entirely different type of work out.
On hand was a former college football player and his trainer, along with a youth pastor, who worked a great deal with troubled youth. Although, I would not place my son into an extreme category of what might be considered, 'troubled youth,' I was glad to have another man there.
The four of us went into a big room where aerobics, Zumba and other classes were held as it was empty. My son finally asked what was going on. And so after praying, I began by saying that this day, this hour had been prepared with him in mind for the benefit of our relationship as mother and son.
And so knowing it would be hard for me to keep my composure and control any unwanted tears, I pulled out a three-page document and began to read as follows:
You are here today to learn what it means to respect someone without question. This means when someone tells you to do something, you will do it and not ask why. You will not say anything rude or anything at all except to do what you are told.
Although you are 13-years-old and my first born, I take responsibility for not using every method possible to help you learn, understand and comprehend what the word “respect” means and more importantly, what it means to respect me, your mother.
You and I both know that you have told me that you respect your father, your grandparents, your aunts, your teachers, your coaches, your trainer and most any other adult more than you do me, your own mother. You may not like what I ask or tell you to do, but from this day forward you will respect my authority and do what you are told without question. To be clear, you will respect me from this day forward.
Your next thought is probably, ‘what if I don’t respect you and do what you say?’ The answer is simple.
I have been instructed to call the police. You can also be sent to a reform school if necessary. But there is a better choice you can make.
First, listen closely as to what it means to respect me, your mother by listening to the definition of ‘respect.’
What is the definition of respect as it relates to a mother?
1. To honor your mother by doing what she says without question as she has been chosen to be your mother by God and to dishonor your mother is to dishonor God.
2. To show respect for your mother is to place your mother’s feelings as more important than your own. Therefore, do what you are asked to do without question. Love your mother and show me you love me by doing the right thing and making the right choices.
3. When your mother teaches you how to do something to help care for the home you live in, take pride in doing your chores without being asked.
When you finish eating, you know that the dirty dishes should be rinsed and put in the dishwasher. As your mother, I should not have to tell you to do this every day. Once you finish eating, rinse dishes and put them in the dishwasher. If the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, empty the dishwasher without being told. Once this is done, you may go back to what you want to do.
You have a list of chores that you agreed to do on different days of the week. These chores should be done without me having to remind you. Not doing your chores is not respecting me, your mother. Therefore, you should not expect to play on your computer or go outside to play with your friends if you choose not to keep your promise, by doing your daily chores.
Putting your shoes in the pantry, keeping all clothes off of the floor in your room and putting them away and not stuffing them under the bed or somewhere else is also your responsibility. I should not have to remind you of this. This should be taken care of by you without question. And this is what is considered respecting your mother by doing what I ask you to do.
When you respect someone, you speak to them with honor and care for his or her feelings. This means if you say something sarcastically or using a rude tone, you are not respecting the person. Here is an example:
Disrespectful – “I’m sorry”
Respectful – “I’m sorry
When asking you to do something, asking you a question, or giving you a reason why something must happen, here are just a few examples of phrases you have used to speak to me in the last two months alone:
- “It doesn’t matter.”
- “I don’t care.”
- “Hold on.”
- “Go to your room and get on your little computer.”
- …Or when I call your name and am just a few feet away, you completely ignore me.
What Does The Bible Say About Respect and Me, Your Mother?
Exodus 20:12 - "Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (NIV)
Proverbs 1:8 - "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake (abandon or disregard) your mother's teaching."(NIV)
Proverbs 10:1 - "The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother."(NIV)
From this point forward, you will respect me every day without question. As you do this, you will please God and also act as a great role model for Skyler.
Now, as to why you are here at the gym:
You have disrespected me for quite some time. This has gone on for several years. When I am disrespected, it hurts both physically and emotionally.
- For the remainder of the hour, you will be continuously, physically active.
- You will not question anything that you are asked or told to do at any point during this time at the gym.
- You may have to run laps, suicides, use a punching bag, lift weights or any number of things.
- YOU WILL NOT STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE TOLD UNTIL YOU ARE TOLD TO DO SOMETHING ELSE.
When you think you can’t do one more sit up or pull up or you can’t run any faster and you are tired or in pain or you want to cry, then you will be close…and I mean only close to how I feel every time…every day that you disobey and disrespect me.
While you are doing jumping jacks or sit ups or pull ups or lifting or whatever, you will repeat the following phrases to be able to answer the question, ‘what does respecting my mother mean?’
1. Respecting my mom means doing what she says without asking her why.
2. Respecting my mom means I am doing what God wants me to do.
3. Respecting my mom means never talking back.
4. Respecting my mom makes my life and my mom’s life happier, easier and better.
Son, respecting me makes things easier for you too.
ONE: When you respect me without question and do what you are told, you can get right back to what you want to do. When you disrespect me, you waste your time and energy as well as mine when you could be on your computer or playing with friends. You and I know you’re smarter than that.
TWO: There are other people you can talk to that we know who are men and who remember what it was like to be a teen. You can have some one-on-one time with a number of good male role models and ask them how they were able to get through the teenage years with their parents.
From this day forward you will say the word, ‘yes’ with an ‘s’ on the end of it.
From this day forward you will say ‘yes, please’ or ‘no thank you’ depending on which phrase is the right one to use.
You are 13-years-old. You are a teenager and a young man. If you want to be treated as a young man and you want to be respected, you will earn this by learning, understanding, comprehending and living a respectful life – and from this point on respecting me, your mother.
Do you understand all that I have said? ________(he provided his initials)
Based on God’s word and whether you like it or not, do you promise to do what I tell you to do without talking back and/or saying things using a rude tone, being rude in any way, shape or form, slamming doors, throwing things or anything that you know to be disrespectful? _________(he provided his initials)
1. As a young man, it is now 100% up to you as to what choice you make in every situation.
2. No one can make you say disrespectful things.
3. No one can make you throw things, yell and be destructive.
4. You must accept 100% of the responsibility for what you do and/or say from this moment on.
5. You must actively choose what God tells you to choose, which is to respect your mother.
6. Should you want to express your opinion, AFTER you have finished what you have been asked to do, you may ASK me when you can talk about how you feel. I will always make time for you. But you are not to tell me how you feel without asking permission or finishing what I have asked you to do.
Do you understand what the consequences of not respecting me will be? __________(he provided his initials)
_________________(he signed) _________________________(date)
Next, his trainer took him out and the work out of his life began. My heart would be racing right along with his throughout the rest of the hour.
(To be continued...)