When people start to talk about values, things can get touchy. Not everyone has the same values, they say. Don’t try to push your morals on me, they say. However, I think there are a few basic values that are non-negotiable. What I’m trying to say, in a nice way, is that if you don’t have these values, you are flat-out wrong. (What? Did she just say that? Oh yes she did!)
Which brings me to my first value in this series: Respect. Dictionary.com defines this as:
esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability; proper acceptance or courtesy.
Let’s break it down to its most basic meaning: Respect is the sense of a person’s worth. Shouldn’t we all treat each other as having worth as a person? You don’t have to agree with everyone, you don’t even have to like everyone, but you should treat them as human!
I’ve been thinking about respect a lot lately. I have two children, in whom I am trying to instill a sense of respect for others, especially their parents. But I seem to be a lone voice in this fight. There are so many bad examples out there: Other parents we see in public who don’t respect their children, much less require respect from them, television stars and cartoon characters who do inappropriate things or talk back to their tv parents like they’re garbage. It’s very disheartening. And I’ve begun to wonder, where did respect go? When I was young, I had great respect for my parents, and their stories are legend-(wait for it) ary about how they would have never DARED talk back or question the authority of their parents.
So why are we letting go of respect? Why are we, as a society, accepting this? People say that TV influences how we act. Well, someone is writing these TV shows! Why do we accept them as OK if we don’t agree with them? Have we lost respect for others because others have stopped being worthy of our respect? It seems like a downward spiral. And we had better fight against it, because, as I see it, respect for others is the foundation of all other values. We have values because we respect ourselves and others. If we lose that respect… where are we headed?