Why do many youths struggle to command the respect of older folks? Why do many older folks view young people as ignorant and exuberant souls when it comes to the really important issues of life? Why do young people feel the need to resort to rebellious behaviour and deviant vices just to prove that they ‘are no longer babies’?
Is there a better way? Let’s examine this together as we extract a few usable ideas from the life of a young man who practically commanded deep levels of respect well beyond his age. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you David.
1. Command respect by HUMILITY.
Pride ranks as one of the ugly defining traits of young people today (maybe not just today anyways). We feel we now know everything – and we felt that same way two years ago! I’ve seen young people hustle unsuccessfully for some respect because of nauseating displays of big-headedness. We sometimes concede that we don’t know it all yet act like we do when situations arise. The horrible combination of arrogance and ignorance is the fastest way to lose regard.
That’s the irony – we think by being loud and proud, we impress others and get bigger in their eyes. It’s the other way around – we actually lose size with such behaviour. Pride blows you up in your eyes but shrinks you in the eyes if others. Pride makes you see yourself as a hot-air balloon while others see a golf ball. Look at this sad picture:
There is a class of people who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers.
There is a class of people who are pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their own filth.
There is a class of people – oh how lofty are their eyes and their raised eyelids!
PROVERBS 30:11-13 (The Amplified Bible)
Today, under the guise of self-confidence and assertiveness (which we’ve been told are essential for success), many young people have crossed boundaries of respect, courtesy and decorum. The mantra is ‘express yourself’ and ‘strut your stuff’. The ego-stroking content served at youth-centric events doesn’t help either.
Get this. Humility is not about degrading yourself or denying your abilities. It is simply about learning to stay where God has placed you at the moment. It is about enjoying and extracting the best out of every season of your life while preparing diligently for the next phase, not scheming or jostling to exit a season prematurely.
These days, young men and women get into an organisation and in less than 6 months, they are already plotting exactly how to edge out (competent and experienced) people who have been there for long simply because we feel they are old and we are the new generation with all the rave ideas. Confidence is cool. Cockiness is not.
Humility means recognising and respecting your superiors. David had the opportunity to kill the king and take over the kingdom (afterall, he had been anointed as the next king) but humility restrained him (see details in 1 Samuel 24:10).
May I tell you the truth? We are NOT all at the same level. We do not all function from the same platform of expertise. Being able to recognise those ahead of you (not necessarily in terms of age) and according them due regard is one of the defining traits of young people who command respect. David knew his limit. He understood that the anointing could not replace the established order. We should keep that in mind – being endowed with remarkable giftings and abilities or skills do not give us the right to break ranks.
Humility means living with kindness towards everyone – irrespective of their social/financial/intellectual/physical status. David shuttled between the palace and the sheepfold without letting the prestige of his royal connections get into his very hairy head.
Do you find yourself being kind and affable to people within a certain ‘class’ and spiteful towards others who don’t belong to that clique? Tell yourself you have to deal with that.
Humility means accepting when we are wrong and making effort to correct our identified mistakes. David’s famous prayer recorded in Psalm 51 says it all.
Do you know anyone who ALWAYS has a point to prove, who’s never wrong and always has a reason to justify what they do, no matter how obviously wrong it was? I bet that individual doesn’t command much respect from you.
This same truth applies to your relationship with others. Do you always feel the need to be right? Do you always have a point to prove? Do you find it difficult to own up and apologise without trying to justify yourself in any way? These may just be warning signs of traces of pride creeping into your heart. You cannot command genuine respect that way. Examine yourself and deal with it.
Humility is not so popular among young people today, but it is one of God’s approved channels for rapid rising and for commanding respect regardless of where we find ourselves at any time. It may sound counter-intuitive but it works.
Thank you for stopping by today. Be on the lookout for the next tip on this subject. Until then, stay humble.
Live by Design.
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