Since I’ve been little, my parents have stressed respect and manners. They have encouraged me to respect family, strangers and peers alike; they encourage me to use please, thank yous, sirs and ma’ams.
However whenever I Google the definition of respect, this is what appears:
Re·spect /riˈspekt/ : (Noun) A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. (Verb) To admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievement.
Respect is mainly viewed in two ways: Google’s definition versus my upbringing. More clearly, the situation is those who believe respect must be earned versus those who think everyone deserves respect.
So should respect be earned or given unconditionally?
Respect shouldn’t have to be earned by anyone. Everyone deserves respect. Giving respect or having dignity doesn’t correlate with liking someone or enjoying someone’s presence.
The biggest examples are teachers, coaches, bosses, principals and police officers. No one really wants to do homework or follow the speed limit. But we have to, and it’s the teachers and police officers job to enforce it.
With teachers specifically, students do not have to like them or the work because that’s not the teacher’s job. Teachers jobs are to teach, and we mustn’t disrespect them for that. They don’t choose to give students a ridiculously hard US History midterm. It’s their job.
We can’t disobey the rules simply because we want to. Student’s aren’t allowed to smart teachers off or refuse to do their work because “they don’t want to”. Part of this problems comes from the passiveness of the teachers; I’ve witnessed a student being disrespectful, and the teacher just taking it. This causes the student to take advantage of the “push-over” qualities of the teacher.
These kind actions aren’t only restricted to authority figures. Saying thank you to a waiter or waitress is being respectful.
And not doing those simple things — even if unintended — may come off as rude and disrespectful, so having this initial respect should be engraved in everyone’s minds to keep the world running smoother.
What if everyone were intentionally rude? People would slam doors in each others faces and trip each other in the hallways. Waiters would mess up orders in restaurants, and customers would use foul language with the staff.
Being rude doesn’t solve any problems, but having respect does.
When it comes down to respect, we might not get it now as teenagers. We have to wait our turns. Eventually, we’ll grow to be the person youngsters must use their manners with. It’s a giant cycle.
Ultimately, there are two types of respect.
The first is for people who have never done anything bad to you. People who pose no threat and have not committed transgressions deserve civil, neutral respect.
That does not mean that there is total respect all of their wishes or all of their actions. People must recognize and understand their accomplishments and respect them for getting there, even if they don’t like them.
But it doesn’t mean that they are treated with disrespect or rudeness.
The other type of respect is where one would willingly yield to the authority, knowledge, expertise, wisdom, power, desires or needs of someone else. No one expects or deserves that kind of respect without earning it.
Going back to my question in the beginning, there should be a ground basis of respect for everyone. Some respect should be earned — like having the ability to ask someone for advice or asking for an honest opinion — but the basic respect — like being kind or polite — should be easy.
I mean, is it that hard to be respectful?