Respecting the Unrespected

Katherine - Bend, Oregon
Entered on March 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect
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I remember those days in class when we all got new seats. Everyone would get excited and jumpy thinking about where they would sit. My friend would always whisper to me about how she didn’t want to sit next to that weird kid but rather that cute boy across the room. Of course, when we switched seats I would be by the cute boy and my friend would get stuck next to the “weird kid”.

Every time when my friend talked to me from across the room, I could see the boy cringe at her rude remarks: “That kid is so weird, all he does is read books and draw pictures.” He’s not deaf, I’d think to myself, he can hear you. However, this never even crossed my friend’s mind. I wondered if she knew what went on in his mind to make him the person he was or if she even wondered why he was that way. Maybe every day was a struggle for him with family problems, school stresses, or extracurricular activities. I believe that everyone deserves respect and I wish my friend had shown some.

When I came into high school, I was nervous about making friends. I was afraid that no one would accept me for who I am or would judge me by my looks or the way they perceive me. But I did make friends on my first day and that is when I realized who the real people are. They are the ones who do not judge someone without knowing them. That is what kind of person I am. I believe that everyone deserves respect and I don’t judge people off the bat because it strips them of the fundamental human right of being given a chance.

I remember in one of my French classes I had to sit next to this very obnoxious girl. I knew that she had family problems and I didn’t want to be mean to her. At the end of class I asked my teacher if I could have a new seat because the girl was distracting me from my work. My teacher nicely responded and said, “You’re the only person in this class that is nice to her. I know you won’t put someone down or make someone fell bad about themselves and with all her troubles in life I put you next to her to make sure she knows that someone in this world respects her.”

When my teacher said this to me I felt proud, I was showing this girl that she matters. People that are nice and decent mean the world to me and I want to do the same for others.

I believe in giving every person respect. I believe that in showing people respect they will respect you in return. I believe that respect is a foundation that will make our society a better place because people will feel they matter.