September 28, 2007

Find out what it means to me

My generation and the generations before and after have issues with respect. I'm sure every generation has them, but I guess ours seems different because we have these issues with everyone--not just our parents or teachers. How often do we hear people say that kids these days don't respect their elders or their grandparents or don't say yes ma'am or no sir...pretty darn often.

Here's my question(s): What are we basing this respect on? Who gets respect and who doesn't? What exactly is the difference between respect and having no sense of humor or personality? It's my humble opinion that all people, regardless of age, position, gender or anything else, deserve the same amount of respect. Granted, this does not mean you treat everyone exactly the same. For example, I would never greet my grandfather in the same way I greet my friends. This isn't because I respect one more than the other. It's because my relationship with my grandfather is drastically different than my relationship with my friend. My friends know me and my sense of humor, whereas my grandfather would think I'd gone insane if I treated him like my close friends. In other words--they're different people with different personalities and therefore react different to situations and people.

I'd say I give people the proper amount of respect...most of the time. Unless they are half-witted bosses who leave their employees to clean up their messes. ::Disclaimer-this is not my current boss. Thank goodness:: This is my own personal fault and rebellious nature and (as my mother has put it over the years) attitude problem. But for the most part, I treat everyone with respect. I don't treat them the same, as I explained above, but I treat them with respect. So here's my problem: why are we expected to give some people more respect than others? When I'm told to show an extra measure of respect to someone, I often think that the word respect is being used incorrectly. It's as though they're using respect when they should be saying "be overly serious" or "be a suck-up" or "be a sycophant." None of this has anything to do with respect--it has to do with ego. Boost their ego and maybe that person will condescend to your level and give you what you want. Treat them like royalty so you'll make them and make yourself look better.

So I have a hard time showing an "extra level" of respect simply because they're older than me or they're a man or they have a master's degree. I'd rather show them the same amount of respect every other person deserves and not suck up to them. I'll do my job and let them do their job. I'll be friendly to them and keep my mouth shut when the situation calls for it. I'll feel them out to find out if they have a sense of humor or not. But I will not be overly serious or grovel for their approval just for the sake of being seen in a false light of respect.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. James 2:8-9

No comments: