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R-E-S-P-E-C-T: A Lesson Plan to Teach Respect

April 1, 2010

Here is a lesson plan I used to teach my young children respect using an acrostic of the word “respect.”  This is certainly not the only instruction I gave the girls, but I was able to link my future reminders and correction to these expectations.  It could be easily adapted for older children.  Each day, we studied one letter but also reviewed the main concept of the previous letters.    I have included the scriptures, not just the references.  You could use these as handwriting practice.  The very short lessons are directed to the child and are meant as a springboard to further discussion.  I also had a basket of items to symbolize the lessons so that we could look at the item, remember the lesson and review the concept.  The symbols are listed in parentheses.)

Requests (piece of clothing—The most frequent request I made was regarding the care of clothing.)

Elders  (toy chair—This represented giving our chair to the elderly.)

Service  (thank you note—This represents what our attitude should be to those who serve us.)

Property (any precious possession—This represents the preciousness of something to those we love.)

Ears (earphones—This represents what some people do to avoid a gush of words!)

Comfort (deodorant—Some of the girls were just coming into that stage of needing to wear it!)

Time (watch—This represents being accountable with our time.)


What does the Bible say?

Read I Peter 2:17.  (“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”)

It is important that we obey the requests of those who are in authority over us.  Parents are an authority in your life.  God doesn’t live on this earth, so He gave us, your mom and dad, the authority to raise you.  Babysitters are also an authority in your life.  When dad and mom are on a date, we transfer our authority to the babysitter, just while we’re away.  Pastors and presidents and policemen are authorities in your life.  God placed them there as protection for us, whether they’re Christians or not. (Romans 13) (You may want to talk about how they don’t have to obey friends.)  It’s important to learn to obey these people that we can see because it is practice for obeying God that we can’t see.

How can my child show respect?

  1. Respond with a “Yes, Dad/Mom/Sir/Ma’m.”
  2. Obey right away.  Delayed obedience is disobedience.
  3. Obey without complaining.

Role-play Ideas:

  1. Take turns being the parent and the child.  The parent asks the child to do something and the child responds with “Yes, ____,” and pretends to walk away (representing immediate obedience.)
  2. The parent takes the role of a complaining child.  The child takes the role of the requesting parent.  If you complain a lot, your child may see how difficult it is to work with a complaining child.


  1. Remind your child to respond to your requests with a “Yes, ___.”
  2. If your child is not obeying right away, physically help them move toward obedience.


What does the Bible say?

Read Leviticus 19:26.  (“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.”)

God’s Word asks us to show respect for the elderly, those who are older than we are.  No matter how much we know and how smart we are, older people are wiser because they have lived longer and have life experiences that we haven’t had yet.  (I realize there are exceptions, but be careful not to open that door unless your child is older and you’re prepared for a discussion about wisdom and foolishness!) God wants us to show respect to older people not only because they’re wise, but because their body gets tired easier. 

How can my child show respect?

  1. Rise when an adult enters for the first time.
  2. When an adult enters the room, offer the adult his or her seat.
  3. Give up his/her seat to adults in public waiting rooms or on public transportation.
  4. Always allow adults to pass through doorways first.  Hold the door for them.
  5. If an adult drops something, quickly pick it up for him/her.
  6. Listen carefully when adults are speaking.

Role-play Ideas:

  1. One child can pretend to be “elderly” and another can be a child.  Both approach the door at the same time, and remember the child goes last.
  2. One child can pretend to be “elderly” and enter a room full of seated people and no empty seats.  (You can use stuffed animals to represent seated guests if you don’t have enough people.)  Another child can stand up and offer his/her seat to the elderly guest.


  1. When guests come to visit, be sure to remind your child to offer the best seat to the elderly guests and that he/she may sit in a seat only after all the adults are seated.
  2. When guests come to visit, have your child help serve snacks or drinks to the elderly.

Note:  Many of these guidelines for showing respect to the elderly also apply to pregnant women.


What does the Bible say?

Read Mark 9:35. (Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”)

There are many people who serve us each day—the cashier at the grocery store, the bank teller at the drive through window, the mechanic who fixes our van.  Often, our culture values people who are in charge, not the ones who serve.  In God’s Kingdom, those who want to be first must be the servant of all.  God wants us to show respect to everyone we meet, even if they aren’t as important as a king or a president.  We should speak quietly and respectfully, and we should say, “please” and “thank you.”  We should be grateful for the service they are providing for us.  God has placed many people in our lives to serve and bless us.

How can my child show respect?

  1. Say “please” when he/she asks something of someone.
  2. Say “thank you” when someone does something for him/her.
  3. Send thank you notes promptly.
  4. When he/she visits someone, do not go empty-handed.  Bring a small token of thanks.

Role-play Ideas:

  1. Pretend your family is at a store.  One parent or child is the cashier and another is the customer.  Role-play respectful and disrespectful behavior and conversation.
  2. During lunch, pretend you are at a restaurant.  One child can be the “server.”  Role-play how customers should treat the server, especially if the server makes a mistake.


  1. Remind your children to say, “please” and “thank you”, especially to family.
  2. Speak respectfully to anyone in the community who is serving you.
  3. Purchase or make thank you notes and have them available.  (One of my friends helps her children make their own address “book” with 3×5 cards in a recipe box.)
  4. When you visit friends, bring a loaf of homemade bread or some flowers from your backyard.


What does the Bible say?

Read I Timothy 6:18. (Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.)

Everything we have is a gift from God.  We should treat our possessions with respect.  If we take care of them, we won’t have to replace them and that will give our family more money to spend on our needs or to give to people in need.  Since everything we have belongs to God, we should not be selfish with what we have.  People are more important to God that things.  We should be willing to share with others.  When we borrow something from someone, we should always ask permission before we take it.  If we take something without permission, that is stealing.  We should also ask how long we can keep the borrowed object and be sure to return it on time or even a little early.  It’s important to respect your own possessions a

How can my child show respect?

  1. Take care of all property, especially property that belongs to someone else.
  2. Be generous to lend.
  3. Ask permission before borrowing something.
  4. If he/she damages something that doesn’t belong to him/her, offer to replace the damaged item.
  5. Return items in a timely manner.  (Set an acceptable amount of time.  Ex. Less than 1 month.)

Discussion Ideas:

  1. Talk with your child about how it feels when someone “borrows” something without asking.
  2. Talk with your child about how the family can better respect and care for your home.
  3. Talk with your child about how to respect church property. (ex.  Play carefully with toys at church.  Don’t write on offering envelopes if you don’t have an offering.)


  1. Borrow books from the library and be sure to return them on time.
  2. Encourage your children to borrow from each other.  That means asking permission first.  If a sibling does not care for another’s property, then they lose the privilege of borrowing for a season.
  3. If your child damages something that belongs to someone else, go with them as he/she admits her fault and offers to make restitution.  If necessary, find jobs for your child to earn money so they can pay for the replacement.


What does the Bible say?

Read Proverbs 18:21a (The tongue has the power of life and death…)

Read Proverbs 10:19 (When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.)

What a strange thought to respect someone’s ears!  Really, it’s about showing respect by carefully guarding our words that go into other people’s ears.  Words have great power.  With our words, we can bless, encourage, inspire, and make someone laugh.  We can also criticize, judge, and make someone cry.  It is our choice.  Spending words is like spending money:  you need to choose wisely when to spend, whom to spend on, and how much to spend.  Sometimes conversation is appropriate (dialogue, not monologue!) but other times it’s better to just listen.  We also need to guard how many words we use.  Some people are overwhelmed when they hear lots of words.  After awhile they stop listening and “tune it out.”  The more you talk, the easier it is to say something you shouldn’t!  No matter what you say, your words and tone of voice should show respect and bring life to whomever you’re talking to.

What can my child do to show respect?

  1. Use words to bring life and not death.
  2. Look for opportunities to speak or write words of encouragement.
  3. Guard his/her words.  Use only what is necessary—no more, no less.
  4. Speak slowly—it is difficult to understand someone when their words gush out!
  5. Speak in a respectful tone.

Role-play Ideas:

  1. Use a ball to teach your children how to have a conversation.  When you ask them a question, throw them the ball.  They should respond with a comment and then ask you a question—then they can throw the ball.  It helps children be aware of dead end comments.
  2. Demonstrate to your children by talking to them with a respectful tone of voice and with a disrespectful tone of voice.  Talk about how it makes others feel when you yell at them.


  1. Use a secret family signal in public that alerts family members when they are monopolizing the conversation.
  2. Practice good conversation skills at the dinner table.
  3. Remind your children that conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue.
  4. Be sure to give plenty of time for your children to talk with you.  They won’t be as likely to “download” so much on your guests!  When you set a precedent of being an interested listener when they’re young, there’s a greater chance they’ll be willing to communicate through the teen years.


What does the Bible say?

Read Luke 6:31.  (Do to others as you would have them do to you.)

Showing respect to others means making them feel comfortable.  Standing too closely to someone or raising your voice can make others feel uncomfortable.  Wisely choose what to talk about and keep it positive.  It can also make people feel uncomfortable if you have food in your teeth or bad breath.  If you have dirt on your face or under your fingernails it can be distracting when someone talks with you.    Another way to show people respect and make people feel comfortable is to be modest—that means you don’t draw attention to yourself.  It is important to dress modestly and not bring attention to your body.  If we do all the talking or our voice is especially loud, the attention is focused on us.  When we talk with others, we should do what we can to make them comfortable and bring attention to our Lord, not to ourselves.

What can my child show respect?

  1. Be clean and neat.
  2. Be modest—dress modestly, behave modestly.
  3. Know which topics of conversation are just off-limits.

Discussion Ideas:

  1. Talk to your child about how it makes other people uncomfortable when you have bad breath or
  2. Demonstrate and discuss with your child appropriate “personal space” when talking with someone.


  1. Make a chart for your child to keep track of daily hygiene.  You can include brushing, flossing, washing face, wearing deodorant, trimming fingernails and cleaning a retainer.
  2. Set specific guidelines for modesty in your family.  Review them before you go shopping.
  3. For daughters, purchase several camis to go under clothing that is either too thin or too low.


What does the Bible say?

Read Ephesians 5:15-15.  (Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.)

God has given each of us 24 hours in a day.  Once we spend our time, we can never get it back.  Spending money is like spending time—we must choose wisely and make the most of what we have. Sometimes our choices affect other people.  When you make plans to meet a friend, your friend says that you are important by choosing to spend time with you instead of doing something else.  If you are late or you take longer than you said, your actions say that your friend’s time is not valuable to you.  You are taking your friend’s time without their permission—which is stealing.  Honor others by respecting their time.

How can my child do to show respect?

  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Leave on time.  Don’t overstay an invitation.

Discussion Ideas:

  1. Talk about how it makes you feel when someone is late when they come to your house.
  2. Talk about how it makes you feel when your parents’ friends come to your house (without any children J) and they stay really late.
  3. Talk about what you can do as a family that will help you to be on time.  (ex.  Lay out clothes/shoes/Bible etc. on Saturday night so you’ll be on time on Sunday morning.)


  1. Help your family make a habit of arriving on time for events and appointments.
  2. Give your child a watch and hold them accountable for completing tasks by a designated time.
  3. Coach your child on how to plan in advance so that they will be ready when you need to go somewhere.  (ex.  When you have music lessons, put your instrument by the door in the morning.)
2 Comments leave one →
  1. may permalink
    July 6, 2012 10:32 am


  2. Jessica permalink
    September 15, 2014 8:50 pm

    I love the lesson plan on Respect. I will use it in my 4/5th grade classroom. Thanks!!

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