I Believe in Respect

Anna - Jobstown, New Jersey
Entered on March 18, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
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Have you ever said something disrespectful to someone you love, and then instantly regretted it? That is exactly what transpired two years ago, when my mom and I went shopping for my sixth grade graduation dress. Unfortunately, my mom was the recipient of my disrespect, so our shopping trip turned into a disaster, but in the end, it offered me a valuable lesson. Now, I believe that very often, respecting others is far more important than getting to express my own feelings.

The afternoon began as an enjoyable trip to the mall to go dress shopping. My mom and I were having buckets of fun in the crowded store. It was spring, the season of proms and graduations, with glamour and glitz flying everywhere as mobs of girls hunted for that perfect dress for their big event. Left and right, peppy, bubbly girls grabbed the prettiest dresses off the racks, and I was in heaven because I was one of them!

The dressing rooms were all filled, so after making my selections, I got in line to wait my turn to transform into a beautiful princess. After forty-five minutes, when a fitting room finally became available, I began the next phase of my fashion adventure. As I tried on each dress, I felt as elegant as Cinderella preparing to meet the prince at the ball! But the magic vanished when I modeled my favorite style for my mom, because instead of exclaiming how glamorous I looked, my mom commented that my beloved dress made me look fat, although I was thin! The mood of our shopping trip soured drastically, and I suddenly became the ugly step-sister.

“Shut up Mom! I hate you! You’re the worst mom ever!” I screamed; but my anger turned to regret right after my stinging words escaped from my mouth. My stomach sickened as I saw deep hurt travel across my mom’s face when my words hit. My mom apologized, but I was ashamed of my insults. I tried on several more dresses and we selected a graduation dress together. Mom said it looked stunning, but I was too upset to appreciate her compliment. As we walked to the check-out line, I knew I had to make up for my cruel, disrespectful words, so I took a deep breath and apologized. My mother embraced me warmly and assured me that all was forgiven.

As a teenager, expressing my views is important, but I have learned that blurting out every thought and feeling is not always appropriate. I believe when you respect others, you show it by taking the time to think before you speak and by caring about how your words might affect them. The next time you are about to state your feelings bluntly, stop yourself and consider showing some respect! It’s far better to miss an opportunity to speak your mind than to hurt your loved ones, as rudeness and disrespect could cause them to disappear from your life forever.