RESPECT - What It Means
(in the picture above are my parents, both of whom I respect and cherish dearly)
http://dictionary.reference.com/ defines RESPECT in 19 different ways. However, for the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on just 3 -
3. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
4. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.
5. the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect.
Respect can be shown in many ways. When I was growing up, I was taught to "respect my elders" and that meant ANYBODY that was older than me. I was taught to respect the people in authority over me. That included teachers, the law of the land, doctors, counsellors, religious leaders and more. I was also taught to respect EVERYBODY around me. Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity, truthfulness, compassion and patience until or unless they have done something to violate that privilege.
To respect my elders meant that when they spoke, I was silent. When they asked or told me to do something such as clean up or do a chore, I did it. I many not have Wanted to do it, but I did it because they had many more years behind them, and as my mom would say, "Your legs are a lot younger than theirs." It also meant that if there was no room on the bus for an older person than me to sit, I stood and gave up mine for them. This didn't have to be for seniors only, but for anybody who had, perhaps, worked all day and deserved to sit. I loved to sit and listen to elder people talk. Their stories intrigued me and there were many that were like an extra set of Grandparents. Respect the elders around you, whether or not you know them. Give them your seat on the bus, let them walk past you by moving out of the way so they can go past without issue, don't yell obscenities at them when you cross the street and be kind to them. What you would want done to you, do even more for them.
If you do not respect the authorities, you know there will be consequences. Stealing, speeding, yelling obscenities, getting drunk and disorderly, high and hyper will most often end you in an intense conversation with a police officer. We have laws for a reason and that reason is Safety, but also respect for every person. Every person alive is of value and deserves to be treated as such.
If you didn't listen to your teachers or counsellors, doctors, there were consequences ranging from detentions, medical issues, and other struggles. I never had a problem in school. I was always the Teacher's Pet. I liked to help the teachers. My grades were not the greatest but I tried. Doctors I listened to for my own sake of staying healthy. If I was told to take this medication I did so. If I had to stop doing something, for a time, I did so. Why? Because that person had spent 14 years or so in medical school and I hadn't. Perhaps if I hadn't have listened, I would have become more ill.
Aside from parents, elderly people and authority figures, there is the rest of the world. Every person living deserves to be treated with respect until or unless they have done something that would cause a person to not trust them. Regardless of race, religion, political views, sexual preference, gender, income level, education level and so on, everybody has the right to be treated well. Even animals deserve to be treated with kindness, tenderness, honesty and love. From infants, to teenagers to seniors, all humans have the right to be treated fairly, kindly, truthfully, patiently, and without any stigma attached to them. If one white female holds up a convenience store, the rest of the white female population should not be treated poorly because of that one female. If a person prefers men over women, regardless of their own gender, they should not be treated any differently than anybody else. If one person believes in one faith and someone else in another, both deserve to be treated equally with dignity.
The only time, personally, I believe people do not deserve respect is when they have hurt somebody purposely, causing harm either physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. Most people in this world are decent people and are just like you and me. We live, breathe, love, get angry, have desires, dreams and so on and want only to be treated in the same manner as you would treat your own body. What person really wants to harm their own body, put themselves down, etc.? You won't find many.
Sometimes respect means being quiet while someone else is talking. Maybe it is allowing somebody else a turn to talk instead of you taking up the whole conversation. It means not thinking that you are more special than others because of where you came from. It is allowing those who are disabled in some way or older than you, the chance to go first or to have that seat. Respect is abiding by the laws of the land or the guidelines of the place you are visiting, be it an organization or another country.
Stop and think of how you would like to be treated by both strangers and friends alike. Most times, that is how the rest of the world wants to be treated too.
R – responsible for your own actions
E – equal rights for all people
S – stop being prejudice
P – polite – remember your manners
E – extending a helping hand to those in need
C – clear your mind of all stereotypes and treat the individual person
T – treat others like you would treat yourself, or better
The Golden Rule
"The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity." Benjamin Franklin
"Men are respectable only as they respect" Ralph Waldo Emerson