It’s tough to expect anyone, including our children, to respect us if we are not working at earning respect. How we act, what we say, what we are like—these point toward the degree to which we are considered respectable. Everyone has different standards, of course, and the idea of respectability is different from being respected as a general human being (which is always a given). So all of this gets boiled down to how we prioritize what’s important to us. It doesn’t really matter what other people think about us—what matters is what we think of ourselves. And, of course, what our God thinks. We can only do as much as we can do—and when it comes to being parents, that’s all the more true. So when we don’t have the energy or time to care about being respectable or responding respectably to our children, we simply have to see things in terms of how we would feel if we had to deal with ourselves on the other side of the table. It might not make it any easier, but at least it makes things a bit clearer as far as what to do or how to be. Our empathy for others is the golden thread in the tapestry of our lives—it’s worth the effort to have and the cost it brings.