Love vs. Respect – Which is more important?

(2-minute read)

Love vs. Respect

Love is DOING what someone wants or likes.

Respect is NOT DOING what someone doesn’t want or like.

Chaim, an 11-year-old boy I recently started working with, has been complaining heavily that his brothers (some older and some younger than him) are really mean to him. The truth is, they are.

But he’s not realizing that he has been quite self-centered and very inconsiderate of their feelings for so many years. His brothers told him a gazillion times to stop being annoying, but he thought it was funny and would laugh in their faces.

So they finally found a way to fight back. And fight back they did! It hurt him so much that he came to our session and asked me to get his brothers to stop being so mean to him.

He was confused because he occasionally would do something nice for his brothers, and wondered why they still didn’t like him.

He simply didn’t understand how relationships work.

Rabbi Shais Taub explains the concept of Love vs. Respect in a way that is very clear and concise:

Love is DOING what someone wants or likes;

Respect is NOT DOING what someone doesn’t want or like.

In that vein, I taught Chaim about Love vs. Respect. When he does something nice for his brothers, that is a loving gesture. However, RESPECT is the foundation of a relationship. If Chaim does not respect his brothers’ feelings, there is no relationship!

Only once the respect is there, can a loving gesture be appreciated. If there is no respect, the loving gesture is met with dismissal or even disgust.

Here is how I broke down the concepts for him.

In the Love column below, I used examples of ways his mother and SEIT show him loving gestures, as well as ways he can be loving toward others. In the Respect column, I listed the behaviors he needs to stop doing to his siblings and classmates in order to show respect for their feelings.

Tip: Once a child understands the concept of Love vs. Respect, when he is about to do a behavior, we can ask him, “Is this Love or Respect?” or “Are you about to cross a Love boundary or a Respect boundary?”

Have a wonderful week!


Dr. Devora

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