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August 26, 2007

I attended a Youth Rally this weekend. I was a chaperone not a youth unfortunately but I still had a great time. The first lesson, presented by Neal Pollard of Denver, CO, was titled “How to Get What You Want from Your Parents? Naturally my first instinct as a parent was to grab my own children and run out before this wacko gave away all our secret weapons. But as I was listening to the lesson I realized how applicable it was to everyone.

First he gave a list of things that kids want from their parents
Undivided Attention

I noticed that these are things that most people want in relationships and a lot of these extend to everyone you meet. General respect and courtesy.

Then he listed the ways for kids to get those things from parents. His lists was something like this.

  • Honesty – Don’t we all value honesty in others. Proverbs 16:13 tells us “Righteous [honest] lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.” And in Proverbs 24:26 we see that “Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.” Your mom was right – honesty really is the best policy.
  • Obedience – This one has a little less application with people who aren’t your parents but it still has some places for obedience in daily life. For example, we have bosses, and federal, state and local laws and even spouses that all require some degree of obedience. If you don’t believe me zoom past Mr. Law Enforcement Officer while zigzagging haphazardly in and out of traffic or ignore your wife when tell you not to be late and see what happens.
  • Niceness – We all have heard the cliche about nice people finishing last. While it may be true that the ruthless businessman gets rich, it is also true that his nastiness has come at a price. We would all rather be around people who are nice to us. And at the end of the day, is that money you made being nasty to people going to keep you company and provide you emotional support. So speak kindly to the kid with his face full of jelly, smile at the stressed-out cashier at Wal-mart, allow that harried mom to cut in front of you in line, hold the door for the delivery guy with an armload of boxes. Not only will it make people be nice to you, it will make you feel good about yourself too.
  • Openness – Don’t we all like to feel that people are open with us? Lack of communication is one of the biggest relationship killers there is. Communication is a two way street. We have to feel that the person we are talking to is being open and honest with us before we are willing to be open with them. And conversely, if we want openness in a relationship, we have to be willing to open up first.
  • Respect – Aretha sang about it and don’t we all want it. It is difficult to get respect from others if you do not show respect to them. There are of course, different degrees of respect due to different people. You don’t have the same respect for the three year old in your Bible class that you do for your spouse, your mother or the judge. But all of these people do deserve respect. And you will find that showing respect for others gains respect for yourself. Proverbs again teaches us “ A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.”– Proverbs 11:16 and ” He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.”– Proverbs 13:13

Jesus boiled this all down into one sentence “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12 This is often called the Golden Rule – simply put it means treat others the way you want people to treat you. Try it today. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Scriptures were quoted from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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