In the course of raising two boys I have had the opportunity to share with them my views on life. Due to the fact that I encouraged them to be their own person, form their own views and be true to themselves they have not always agreed with me. I love this! I have strong views on certain issues and my boys have strong minds and opinions of their own and I welcome that.
One of the things I imparted on them and which they have followed is a belief that respect is earned and not given blindly to someone based on their age or profession. I vehemently disagree with the old adage, “Respect your elders.” Why should someone deserve respect for merely having more birthdays under their belt than I do? I also don’t think a career choice is a reason to respect someone. Should a CEO receive more respect than a retail employee strictly because of the rung on the social ladder they are on? Simple answer, no. Now, before you get the impression I have no respect for anyone I will tell you the exact opposite is true. I respect everyone until I’m given a reason to not respect them. I believe wholeheartedly that every living being born to this earth deserves respect right up until they make life choices rendering them undeserving of respect. Let me clarify; if you are a teacher and you are a good person who has done good in your life, I respect you. If you are a religious person who believes in a God and through that belief you strive to do good for your fellow man, I respect you. If you are a business exec who works hard and is kind and caring to the people around you, I respect you.
If you are a teacher, who treats children as less than people and use your position of power over them to demean or dominate, I have no respect for you. If you are a religious person who uses whichever God you pray to as an excuse to be cruel, bigoted and judgmental, I have no respect for you. If you are a business exec who has gained success by breaking the rules, taking what isn’t yours and stepping over other people, I have no respect for you. If you are 80 years old but have lived a life of absolute selfishness and arrogance why should you be afforded respect simply due to the number of years you’ve lived.
It’s simple, you are born innocent and deserve the respect common decency brings. Along the way you have a choice to make, a series of decisions determining what type of person you will be and whether you deserve respect. You can not just skate by from birthday to birthday doing nothing to contribute to the betterment of the world we live in and think you deserve any respect.
Each of us choose who we are going to be on a daily basis. Each morning is a fresh start and an opportunity to be the person we want to be. Choosing to be good, kind and considerate is a choice worthy of respect and even a little admiration because it is always easier to be a selfish ass, now isn’t it.
I have been complimented many times on how polite and well mannered my children are and I am very proud of them for that but I am equally proud of them for being strong minded young men who measure everyone they meet on their own individual merits and treat them accordingly.
Really, isn’t respect that’s earned the greater accomplishment.