Courtney - West Linn, Oregon
Entered on May 22, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, respect

Remember your school teachers telling you to “respect you elders” and “treat others how you expect to be treated”? Now it is just common courtesy to respect everyone and everything around us. It is just done because that is what we have come to learn over the years. For years this has been my understanding of how I should behave. However, recently I experienced something that has strongly reinforced the reason why I need to respect others and I will never forget it.

For years, the relationship between my mom and my step-brothers has been rocky. They never really got along. Eventually this “relationship” was broken after an argument. When this happened I was not home, but my mom explained it to me when she picked my up after a choir event.

Something had set off my younger step-brother (again). He did not want to do something and was prepared to fight over it. Now, when I said “fight”, I meant it literally. My step-father, his father, confronted him. He basically told him to do what he was told. I do not want to go into detail, but things became violent between the two. My dad was so enraged that he sent him out of the house so that they could both cool off. My dad nursed his mental and physical wounds and went outside to check on my step-brother. He was not there.

Again, I was not home when this all happened, but from what my mom said the whole event was terrible. Later that night, after making some phone calls, my parents figured out that my step-brother had called his mother who then picked him up. So at this point he was living with her for the time being. A couple of weeks later my dad received a phone call from his mom asking him to take my step-brother back. She did not have the resources to provide for him and he could not stay. Eventually my dad and younger step-brother talked, trying to come to some common ground. Once they did he came home and since then has been grounded to his room with no privileges. My mother still wants him out of the house and to this day does not recognize him as a person.

To add to this drama, there have been many violent arguments between my parents and my younger step-brother. With every one it reinforces my mom’s want for him to leave. If he happens to walk upstairs for something, she leaves the room. Before all this, she used to dish up our dinner for us and we ate together. Now she just fixes dinner and goes into her room or the living room. Also because of this my step-brothers eat in the kitchen, my sister and I eat in the dinning room and my dad eats in the living room. Because of this, I do not think my mom eats dinner very often; actually, I never see her eat anymore….To add to this, my mom’s second job (she has two jobs)has become overwhelmingly stressful lately and now I’m going off to college (which comes with all it’s expenses we can’t pay for). I am scared for her health and well being. I’m also scared another event will occur between my younger step-brother and my parents and that my sister may get involved. I am scared something will happen and I won’t be home to help. What if something happens to my mom and/or my sister? What would happen…?

If there was even one ounce of respect for my parents within my younger step-brother, my family would not have to deal with this. We could almost pass as a “normal” family. We could go out for a day or go on vacation or even just eat dinner together, but now that is just a dream.

I believe in respect.

Oh, and the thing my step-brother did not want to do in the beginning of all this was unloading the dishwasher. Stupid huh?