Respect: 1.) To have deferential regard for; esteem. 2.) To treat with propriety or consideration. 3.) To regard as inviolable; avoid intruding upon. 4.) Regard for and appreciation of worth; honor and esteem. Courteous regard…
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about respect. Who deserves it? Who doesn’t? Why or why not? And mostly, what has happened to it? A fairly recent experience initiated my pondering…
A few months ago, I accompanied my husband on a business trip. I looked forward to meeting some of his out-of-state employees because he speaks highly of his people and treats them with amazing regard. During the course of the evening, one of his female employees approached and, turning to my husband, asked, “Is this your wife?” He answered by introducing us. I smiled and greeted her. I don’t recall her saying anything to me in return, but she turned to my husband and said, “She’s just a little thing!”
I was astonished not only by her disrespect for her boss’s wife (me), but for him, her employer. In thinking about it the next day on the way home, I had a flashback. This had happened before. The exact same statement… in a different state. Again, it came from one of his female employees. When he introduced us, she had blurted out, “She’s just a little thing!” The only difference being that time, while talking to him, she looked me straight in the eye. It didn’t take any imagination to understand it was a statement of disrespect and detain.
I am very comfortable with my size me so it wasn’t her reference to my petite-ness which stunned me. It was her complete lack of manners and knowing it was a deliberate choice on her part.
Like purchasing a yellow car and then noticing all the other yellow vehicles on the road, the flashback and the more recent occurrence triggered me noticing manners and, in general, respect.
It promoted introspection as well. Is it me? Do I not deserve respect? Am I arrogant? How respectful am I to others?
My conclusion: Respect has little or nothing to do with the person receiving or being denied it, and everything to do with the person who gives or withholds it. It totally reflects on their character! For example:
Mother Theresa was known for her respect for the poorest of the poor. She did not place value on people based on anything but that they were God’s children. Her reverence for each person, regardless of their station in life, caused her to be one of the most beloved and revered people in the world.
Another example is the late Princess Diana. She, too, was known for giving respectful, undivided attention to each person with whom she spoke. She had a way of making them feel special, important. It’s unnecessary to reiterate how well-loved Princess Diana was.
I realize this post easily calls for a Part II, but here’s my summary for now…
Because being respectful reflects on character, I find myself wondering: What is the rampant disrespect in our children, ourselves, our leaders, our society, our country, saying?