Respect (noun): due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others – (Google, 2015).
A few weeks ago when Starts at 60 asked the question, “If you could only teach your grandchildren one thing, what would it be?”
The most popular answer from the 264 comments was “respect”.
When you type “respect” into the Google search bar, the first highest hit other than Google’s own definitions is a page that defines respect as, “a quality seriously lacking in today’s society”.
Yet on an article that was published on Starts at 60 the Saturday just passed about whether or not we should respect our politicians more the general consensus was no, because respect should be earned.
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So now I’m asking the question of every single person in the Starts at 60 community, do you really believe that?
Because I don’t believe respect should be earned. I believe respect is a basic common courtesy that we pay one another regardless of whether we like them, dislike them, like their job or their performance or dislike their job or their performance. I feel that respect is something that we as individuals owe to everyone around us.
Imagine walking down the street and it being totally appropriate and acceptable for someone to call us a name, tell us we’re ugly, push us over or tell us we’re rubbish. If respect was something that can only be earned then this behaviour would be acceptable – because we don’t know strangers and they would have no need to show us respect.
Imagine if on our roads anyone could fly in and cut anyone else off or merge without waiting for a gap or not wait for traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. If respect was something that could only be earned then this is the kind of world we’d live in.
Imagine if I came into your workplace and after standing there for one minute I told you that you were incompetent, bad at your job and dumb. If respect was something that could only be earned then this would be acceptable and normal behaviour.
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Imagine if someone was invited into your house and then they trashed it. If respect was something that could only be earned then this would be acceptable and normal behaviour.
You see, we rely on the automatic right of respect every single day to live our lives in happiness and harmony, yet we throw it out the window so quickly when it comes to other people.
I believe that every single person who commented on that article saying that respect should be earned and that it is appropriate to disrespect people is a hypocrite – you wouldn’t be as happy as you are today if it wasn’t for respect. It doesn’t matter what your opinions, thoughts, race, religion or nationality is. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a politician, a teacher, a priest or a police officer. We are all owed respect and we should all be respectful – all of the time.
I believe that respect is a basic human right. I believe that every single person in the world is entitled to respect. In fact, the Australian Human Rights website states that the principals of human rights are based on dignity, equality and respect.
So next time you’re freely disrespecting others, remember that you’re a hypocrite. And while you’re there, think about the example you’re setting for your grandchildren – because you sure as hell aren’t teaching them respect.
Do you agree?