Our inner strengths, experiences, and truths cannot be lost, destroyed, or taken away. Every person has an inborn worth and can contribute to the human community. We all can treat one another with dignity and respect, provide opportunities to grow toward our fullest lives and help one another discover and develop our unique gifts. We each deserve this and we all can extend it to others. – Author Unknown
I believe in Mutual Respect
While growing up in South Alabama I was taught by my parents to use expressions like please, thank you, excuse me, and particularly yes sir/ mam when addressing adults. However, as I grew up I never seemed to understand the importance or the impact that those few little words would have on the rest of my life. Now, as an adult, I believe those very words have given me genuine empathy for people and the desire to embrace mutual respect for others.
Like many teens I became rebellious and lacked the proper social skills necessary to be considered a fine respectful young man. Yeah, what, huh were words were words never tolerated by my father when spoken with a negative connotation. Nevertheless, whilst not within arms extent, I could never seem to resist an opportunity to push the limit; not only with my father but with adults in general as well. Along with the lack of or misuse of those simple little words came looks of disappointment or even outright detest. Not to mention, ever memorable comments such as “how rude” or “someone needs to teach that young man some manners”. Astonishing as it may sound, the comments never really mattered much to me because adults were obviously the ones with the problem and the looks of distain were simply a symptom of their apparent lack of understanding about everything.
However, as time went on, I began to see the blunder of my ways and how powerful something as simple as a smile or a respectful reply could actually be. What I eventually discovered is that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out; however, it does take a heart willing to recognize that most inhabitants on planet earth desire the respect of their fellow human beings. Furthermore, a commonsense perspective would indicate that a respectful and positive interaction with people will bring about a positive and respectful response.
Growing into an adult has certainly been a journey for me and now that I am considered the poster person for mid-life I have taken please, thank you, excuse me, and especially yes sir/ mam to a whole different level. Today I warmly say yes sir/mam to my father and mother; not only with warmth but with all the love and respect that I can muster as well.
I believe that please, thank you, excuse me, and yes sir/ mam are words that come from a core belief that we as fellow human beings can all understand. Such words, I believe, are foundational regarding our heritage and truly reflect the belief that all men and women are created equal.