Family Matters - November 2013

Punctuation Parenting

Tool #3: Capitalization

We don’t show respect the way we once did in this country.

In the past…

■ Men took off their hats when they entered a building and kept them off. Now, men seem to wear their hats all the time and often have them on backward!

■ Children would address adults with the title of Mr., Mrs. or Miss. Now, children often call adults by their first names — even their own parents!

■ When you were out in public, you looked out for the welfare of others, treated strangers in a kind manner and spoke to others in a gentle voice. Now, we see all

kinds of examples of an in-your-face mentality or a “me-first” attitude.

Most parents don’t want their kids to display rude behavior toward their peers or toward adults. Parents are proud when they hear others speak highly of their

children, especially when they have been kind to others and shown respect to those in authority.

Why is this so hard? Is it because we are too busy to stop and pay attention or too self-centered to respect others? The reasons may be many and varied, which underscores the need for us to be more intentional regarding the way we show respect to others and provide them with needed care and attention. It is about being intentional.

As we read and write the written word, capitalization is an intentional way to express respect and honor. We capitalize names, places, dates, significant events,

titles and honors bestowed upon others. We capitalize the beginning of sentences, the letter “I” and family relationships when used as proper nouns. If something is capitalized in the written word, you know it is important.

When others speak, we don’t see capitalized letters appear above their heads, putting their message in a proper punctuation format. We are left, however, with hearing the tone of their voice, the volume of their voice and their attitude, which gives us a sense of respect for the person or issue at hand.

For the believing Christian, the idea of respecting others comes to us in the First Commandment, where God tells us to have no gods other than the one and only Triune God. We are told to love, trust and respect God above everything else.

The Fourth Commandment tells us to honor our father and mother and to respect

all others put in authority over us. Respecting others doesn't take away anything

from us, as respect often is reciprocal; when we respect others, others will respect us.

Teaching our children to respect others — to honor those in authority — is something on which we will want to capitalize!

FAMILY LINKS: Activities for families to reinforce Bible story truths in the home.


Gather as a family and use the following as an outline for your time together.


(Spoken as an echo prayer) Dear God. Thank You for loving us. Thank You for being our God and blessing us in so many ways. Thank You for forgiving us in the name of Jesus. Help us to love You and respect You every day. Help us to love and respect others too. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Readings

Look up the following verses, and discuss the questions.

■ Matt. 22:37–38 How do these verses say we should love God? (With our heart, soul and mind.) How can we do this?

■ Matt. 22:39–40 What do these verses say about loving others? (To love others as we love ourselves.) How can we do this?

■ 1 John 4:19 How is it that we can love God and other people? (Because God first loved us.)

Echo Pantomime Activity

Read the follow statement, and have children and family members follow the actions. Do it three times after practicing once.

Say: “Love the Lord with all your heart.”

Do: Clasp hands over heart.

Say: “Love the Lord with all your soul.”

Do: Hold hands high, pointing to heaven.

Say: “Love the Lord with all your mind.”

Do: Hold hands gently on top of head.

Say: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Do: Hold hands outward toward others.

Closing Activity

Have a piece of paper/poster board where you can write down responses to the follow questions:

1. Who are people that you admire and respect in your family?

2. Who are people that you admire and respect in your church or school?

3. Who are people that you admire and respect in your town or community?

4. Who are people that you admire and respect in our country?

5. Who loves you most of all?


Say a closing prayer that asks God to bless all of the people whom you respect and admire and to help you continue to respect and admire them. Thank God for loving you so much that He sent Jesus to take away your sins.

Family Matters Vol. 18 / No. 3 / November 2013

Family Matters is an LCMS School Ministry newsletter.

Reprinted with permission of LCMS School Ministry.