As I continue my quest to uncover the long lost art of living a virtuous life, readers have begun to comment in wonderfully articulate ways, about how, they too, want them back in their lives. One word keeps popping up as I hear from you that I had expected to espouse on sooner or later, but since you keep using it in your emails I thought I’d cover it in this article.
That virtue is respect.
Mr. Webster defines respect as: “to consider worthy of high regard, to refrain from interfering with, an act of giving particular attention: consideration.” Respect should be found in many areas of life; I’ll try to cover a few of them in this article.
With children we want them to have consideration, and to respect others, their elders, authority, teachers, parents, relatives, virtually anyone they come in contact with. They can decide on their own whether they respect someone and act differently when they get older, but while they are young through their teen years they should show “be considerate and show respect”. Children also show respect by having manners, saying please, thank you, excuse me, and meaning it.
DECENCY & HONOR
As a nation, we are running away at the speed of light from respect in so many aspects of our daily lives that I’m afraid it will disappear entirely someday. I was shocked recently when it was announced that the Federal Communications Commission would now allow the “F” word in certain circumstances in normal programming. Where did respect of decency go?
SELF-RESPECT & SELF-ESTEEM
When an individual has self-esteem and self-respect, they expect the same in return because they have come to regard themselves a respectable, responsible and reliable, and therefore deserve it. Without self-respect/esteem humans become angry, depressed and mean.
By teaching children how to have respect and use it properly, we give them a foundation in decency, self-respect and self-esteem, plus, an understanding of quality and class.
The current generation our young have adopted a philosophy that shows respect for the pain of obtaining tattoos and body piercing. Born out of the gang world and prison “tats” as they are called, tattoos have been elevated to “art” that to some, announces to the world they are to be taken seriously as tough, unique, and a rebel of sorts. Some say this is a lifestyle choice; my reply is, if that is the case, then don’t complain about it later when the tats don’t fit into a new, more grown up or professional lifestyle.
I’ll probably take some heat for my position on this one, but not having respect for your body and intentionally subjecting it to pain and disfiguration has no class or quality. It is “body graffiti” which, like the kind found on walls in alleys and trash dumpsters, serves no purpose of the higher self.
Yes, many contend that it is artistic in nature and self-expression, but those who cover large parts of their bodies I feel are doing themselves a dis-service that will limit opportunities in the future. Many of the Hollywood elite and other prominent people who have followed the fad and been tattooed are now getting them removed with even more painful laser treatment.
DISCIPLINE AND RESPECT
To carry the current younger generation examination a bit further, I feel they were never taught how to have respect. Their parents came out of a time when you didn’t discipline children, not wishing to stunt their expressions or growth, but unfortunately it created an atmosphere of “let kids do what they want and they will pick up virtues from society”.
Well, sadly society didn’t teach them anything.
These children grew up in day care centers, and then went on to school systems that were told to teach them morals and virtues, but lacked the authority to discipline, so a wild mindset within the kids grew to say, “Do what you want, dude, they can’t hurt you, it’s the law.” The trouble was, they were right; we have created a generation without respect for much of anything good.
Oops, I spoke too quickly; they respect wealth.
A recent report stated that many teens today have a zero work ethic, but a definite respect of those who become wealthy. One doesn’t come without the other, unless you don’t possess any scruples and turn to crime.
And, we’ve made full circle haven’t we, the tattoos were born out of the prison tats craze. Which then begs the question: Who are the idols of these teens? Who do they really respect? Certainly not any individuals with class and quality and that’s a shame. When you emulate someone, you pick up his or her traits, habits and desires. The rappers and gangsta rap have violent, sexist, racist, and selfish lyrics, that’s what our young have learned to emulate.
My idols, which I respected greatly while growing up, included:
· My Dad
· John Wayne
· Kirk Douglas,
· Ronald Reagan,
· President Kennedy
· President Eisenhower
· The Beatles
· Winston Churchill
· John Glenn
· Chuck Yeager
· Mario Andretti, (and many more, but space doesn’t allow for it.)
Did you see Al Capone, or Machine Gun Kelly, or Bonnie and Clyde on that list? Of course not.
Respect is a virtue that creates an atmosphere of “caring” for yourself and others. We need to instill that philosophy in our young once again before it’s too late to save ourselves and our country from a very bleak future that is becoming all to plausible.
In the end, it’s one man’s opinion, mine.