Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves. - U Thant
I’ve been thinking about respect lately. Not necessarily having respect for yourself and definitely not demanding respect from others. I’ve been thinking about respecting others and the blatant lack of this practice these days. I’m not a Pollyanna – I know we’ll all disagree with one another from time to time. I know there are some people who we’ll disagree with more often than we agree with them. Seriously, there are some individuals that I think would say grass was orange just to stir up a debate.
But this isn’t about the other person, is it? Respecting others begins in our own hearts and minds. If we consistently show a lack of respect toward others, the problem isn’t with them as much as it’s with us.
As you may know, I’m from the south – a fact that I’m very proud of… just as I’d be very proud to be from Minnesota or Iowa if my birth certificate boasted these states instead of Kentucky. I think that being from the south often gives one a different view of the world. Maybe it’s the way we’re raised and the way our ancestors were raised, I don’t know. Anyway, where I come from….
- men open doors for ladies
- ladies appreciate the opened door, smile, and say “Thank You!“
- men try very hard not to swear in front of women
- men and women respect their Presidents, servicemen and women, Police Officers, etc.
- The Bible is the Good Word – always has been, always will be
- God is God. He isn’t just a “higher power” or “the Man upstairs.” (Come on, God isn’t such a hard name to say!)
The list goes on, but these are simply things I grew up with. I suspect that many of you did as well – whether you’re from the north, south, east, or west.
Back to respect.
I am astounded lately at the number of people in the media, on blogs, in books, on television, and so on who show so much disrespect toward our Presidents – Whether it’s President Obama or recent Presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush Sr. or Bush Jr. I miss the day when people respected the office and the men in the office, whether they agreed with everything they stood for or not.
Yesterday, I was reading a really good (make that really, really, really good) book by an author who came across as highly intelligent, witty, and very gifted. Then, out of the blue, this author referred to one of our recent presidents as a “fool.” I re-read the passage again, to make sure I hadn’t taken it wrong. This wasn’t even a political book for crying out loud.
A President. In print. A fool. Not cool.
Men are respectable only as they respect. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Again, I know I have different opinions than many people (including this author) and I have an incredibly idealistic view of the world. I know that, I own it as surely as I own my obsession with chocolate. I admit, I don’t even care for the comedians who mock President Obama or Sarah Palin. I know that’s going too far on my part, but there you have it. I also didn’t like a particular magazine cover that displayed Mrs. Palin in shorts (looking like she’d been working on a farm), with a headline asking what we were going to do about her. Where’s the respect in that? You may not agree with everything she or President Obama do or say, but a level of respect isn’t so much to ask for.
After all, when we show respect to others it reflects directly upon us and the level of respect we command. Do you respect disrespectful people? Neither do I.
Something else, while I’m on a roll. I hate the unprofessional manner that a lot of people are doing business online. To use your blog, forum, social media, or whatever platform to attack another person’s integrity, work, ethics, popularity, or even hairstyle (don’t know where that one came from to be honest) just isn’t cool. You know what it’s like? When one adult “calls out” another adult on their own turf, it’s like a 13 year old girl running down another 13 year old girl on her own MySpace. It’s her turf, she can say whatever she wants about the other girl – vent, baby, vent! What’s more, she can have her own friends respond and say, “You’re so right! I don’t like her either!”
But you can’t expect all 13 year old girls to have the maturity to take up disagreements and disputes face to face, without an audience.
Kids call names and try to create a “pick sides” atmosphere. Adults don’t. Adults shouldn’t.
Again, a lot of it comes down to our buzz word of the day: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Now I guess you found out what it means to me…
What does it mean to you?
Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners. – Laurence Sterne