This I Believe

Carla - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on May 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect

Humanity is Not a Choice

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”

– Marcus Aurelius

I believe that every person I am connected with by fate deserves respect. There have been times when others treated me like a dog– as an undesirable. Some may assume I am of a minority, that I am a black sheep; rather, I am a stereotype. I am Caucasian, female, and my family is fairly well off because of frugal spending and honest work. I think it is safe to say that it is human nature to seize the act of judgment– truly and act of God– and allow ourselves to be disparaging of others. Either way, I have learned that respect should have nothing to do with judgment.

At sixteen, I was a junior in high school and had so far been braving the choppy waters of adolescence with a sturdy sail. Though I have had my share of social tribulations, none had struck me more than a confrontation I had with my friend’s mother: a portly, imperious woman of 65. My friend, also sixteen, found his home life to be nothing more than a cycle of servitude and ignorance towards the love of family. In one situation at their house, she began to yell at him about his mediocre report card. Though I disagreed with her, I sat quietly on his bed as she stood in the doorway and screamed at him to act more responsibly and, ironically, to speak with a more respectful tone. Then she turned to me. My friend was used to her verbal abuse, so he had simply stared blankly at her as she yelled. No one had ever yelled at me, even in scolding– so naturally, my first response was crying. She demanded a reply to something she said, and I pleaded that she would only show me a little respect. Again, she yelled back, saying that I did not deserve respect because I was a child and a guest in her house.

I fumbled for a reply. My friend rebuked her and said that I had nothing to do with the situation. With a glaring look, she left the room, saying she would speak with him later. After this, I didn’t know how to act around her. I wanted to treat her with respect, because I felt she deserved that much, no matter how she had treated me. Still, I could not comprehend how she had simply discarded me, regardless of the reason. Though I wish I did not have to go through the ordeal, I cherish the lesson that it taught me: Everybody matters. Whether they are nine years old or ninety years old: all humans deserve respect. I only hope that the rest of humankind can learn to hold others in the highest regards of humanity, no matter who they are.