This I Believe

Robin - Hendersonville, North Carolina
Entered on August 6, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: respect

Out of Respect

Rodney Dangerfield spent his comedic career searching for it; Aretha Franklin used her powerful lungs and outrageous singing voice to belt it out. I am referring to respect. I believe there is a tremendous lack of respect in our society today.

I believe that we must teach our children the importance of respect in order for them to become well- rounded adults. The children in our country today are being raised without being taught the true meaning of respect. Many times I have been astounded at the language and tone that parents are willing to accept from their children.

Meanwhile teenagers show their own style of disrespect. As a mother who has raised a teenager, I have dealt with this issue firsthand. My daughter, Nicole, would tune me out. At times like this I wondered whether that wonderfully obedient child I knew really existed. While maintaining a respectful demeanor, I attempted to show her how it felt to be on the receiving end of disrespectful behavior. My hope was to impress upon her the value of learning respect and then earning it.

There appears to be a great deal of people, both young and old, who have little or no self-respect or self confidence. I find it very hard to imagine that a person who doesn’t have self-respect possesses the ability to respect others.

When I was growing up, back in the 1960s, respect was something that my parents expected of me. The times were turbulent with political woes and the war in Vietnam. My respect could have easily become a casualty of the times. Later on, in my adult life, the depth of my self-respect was tested. In this case, the abrupt end of a 15 year marriage would prove to be the ultimate challenge of mine. I had to figure out what just happened and what direction I needed to take. My heart and mind had to learn how to recover and heal. My first thoughts were to go somewhere safe and comforting. I knew running home to my parents wasn’t the answer, but it was what my heart was telling me. I understood my ability to recover from this devastation would prove my strength. I remember overhearing a conversation between my parents. My mother couldn’t understand why I wasn’t coming home. My father told her that I was doing exactly what she had raised me to do. I stood up for myself, held my head high and continued with my life. If my parents had not taught me the importance of self-respect, that time in my life could have become more of a life crisis.

As members of the human race, we should show respect in anticipation of receiving it back. To make our society one full of adults with genuine respect is going to be hard work. Change is going to require commitment from us as parents. We truly owe it to our future generations to instill the importance of respect in our kids today.