R – E – S – P – E – C – T

 

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?

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6 Responses

  1. “It totally reflects on their character!”

    I agree and of course, you deserve respect. Even if you weren’t the boss’s wife, you would deserve respect. It’s something we can offer to every person.

    What does it say about our society? Our nation disrespects babies in the womb, so I think it ripples out from there.

  2. The comment “Am I arrogant?” made me smile as you are one of the last people I would think of when thinking of arrogant people. We do not have to agree with people to respect them and I think people get this confused. You can respect someone as a person created by our loving God, and as such all people should be given respect, even while disagreeing with them.

  3. I have a low threshhold for disrespect when it’s directed my way. you probably handled it better than I would have.

  4. Larry, Our nation’s disrespect for babies is a hot button for me…don’t even get me started! I think you’re absolutely right…only I suspect most of our country have little (or no) idea of just HOW critical this issue is to every other issue we’re dealing with…war, the economy, health care, etc. It baffles me that they aren’t making the connection. I think it boils down to a lack of the fear of the Lord.

  5. I loved your comments on RESPECT and I totally agree that it has to do, not with the recipient, but with the speaker. I remember my mom (4ft 8 and 85 lbs) telling me she was in the grocery store and a complete stranger asked her if she had always been so small (duh) and my normally shy, quiet mom responded with….have you always been so rude? That ended the conversation but she felt so disrespected by someone asking her that….

  6. Marlene, I wish I could be as quick as your mom when those things happen to me. I’m usually stumped and come up with something later. :-)

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