Aretha sang it best because respect is so important to all of us. It starts with respect for self. Then it branches out to respect for others, authority, etc.  The issue I often see is many people lack respect for themselves. Respect, like charity, begins at home.

As we are growing up we are often taught to respect our “elders”, including parents, teachers, and so on.  But we don’t always get the message about Why we are supposed to respect them. And sadly, it is even less frequent that we are taught to respect ourselves as children.  The problem here is 2-fold; understanding what constitutes respect and what is the basis for giving respect are unanswered questions and this leads to confusion as we go on in life.

I like to keep things short and simple whenever possible. I’m going to start with Why we respect others. When people act in honorable ways (being honest, loyal, doing their best), we should treat them with respect because they are earning respect with their actions/behavior.  It’s really pretty simple, when we earn respect we should receive respect. It’s not because of age or position, it’s how people are, not who they are, that should command respect. I respect lots of people of all ages, including children, because of how they are as people.

The next topic is respecting yourself.  When we show children respect by listening to them and giving them credit where it is due, children learn to respect both the person showing them respect and themselves as people.  When I was around 11 Year’s old we were driving home from a short trip and I saw a sign that showed we were going south not north.  I mentioned this to my parents who quickly told me to be quiet because they knew where they were going, so I just shut up and then felt a bit silly for even mentioning it.  About 20 miles later (and seeing a few more signs, but now afraid to say anything), my Dad noticed we were going the wrong way!  Instead of saying that I was right when I first mentioned it, I got in trouble because…well, I was never really sure why it was my fault when I brought it up and was told I was wrong. The fact that my parents were embarrassed was why I was in trouble, but it was years before I understood that and it undermined my self respect.  They didn’t do it on purpose, but it had the same effect.  When children are right, give them acknowledgement so they can start to respect themselves. Children with earned self-respect become respectful and respected adults.

Whether we are male or female, young or old, whatever job we do, if we earn respect we deserve respect and if we act disrespectfully, we don’t!  End of soapbox!😀😀

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