This I Believe

Tyler - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe essay


So what exactly is respect? I believe that respect is a requirement for life to function. Respect is different in everyone’s eyes; and is a very difficult word to define. I once had a workbook that asked me to define respect, I could only provide examples.

Respect is misinterpreted in some peoples’ eyes as courtesy; such as letting an elderly person or a woman take your seat. However, respect is so much more. Respect is not talking about someone behind their back; respect is letting a person know if you have a problem with them. Those are the versions of respect that apply most to a person’s life. I once was told a quote, and I will never forget it, though I cannot remember who said it, “Respect cannot be commanded, it must be earned”. I apply this to everything I do. I have lived my life based off of respect; I respect everyone to a degree, and I respect myself based on what I believe I have earned. Respect is earned through leading by example; by respecting others; and by doing things a common person will not do. Taking action in a tough position will gain people’s respect; such as taking control in a chaotic situation, or simply taking harder classes in school to get a good job or go to college. A common misconception about respect is that it means to just be nice to people, but once again it is so much more. To be nice to someone normally means liking them, but respect is truly shown when a person dislikes someone and is still at least polite to them. Respect is truly shown against a person’s enemy, whether it be a person in High School, or another country. To barge into another country and simply conquer it and mock them is being disrespectful to that country and is not right. I think the United States would have many less enemies in the world if those countries were respected more.

Although respect has many examples, but no real definitions, it is one of the most valuable words in any language today. Respect should be applied to everything in the world, be it small or large. Respect always plays a role; this I believe.