Was our generation the first to lose the art of respect?

Last weekend I had an interesting discussion with my grandchildren about respect. My grandson had learnt about respect in his first week of year one and was enjoying telling me all about it. He used a couple of examples to explain the concept to me and I went along with them gleefully.

He gave me an example of having no respect and said if he told Jonathon that he was bad at reading that would be having no respect. Then he said if he called Jonathon an “idiot” then that would also be having no respect. He was quite proud as he said these things and I was proud of him for being so at one with the concept but then I realised something and I was quite shocked.

My mother wouldn’t have ever called anyone an idiot. It simply wasn’t respectful. Even my father would have never called anyone an idiot for the same reason – at least not out loud. My grandson wouldn’t call anyone an idiot because he now know it isn’t respectful.

Yet when I think about people I know on Facebook and the others who are part of this community here, many of us throw around the word ‘idiot’. They call each other ‘idiots’, to politicians and anyone else who they don’t agree with or who doesn’t agree with them. This is our generation doing it – not our parents, not our grandchildren, but us.

So I have to wonder, are we the first generation to really lose the art of respect?

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We are so quick to judge, to call other people names, to make insulting remarks about other people’s region, beliefs or personal opinions – all you have to do is read a vaguely political post on Starts at 60 and you’ll see it.

Our parents didn’t say things like that to each other, no matter how different of opinion they had. They were happy to quietly remain with their differences and knew that it was wrong to put your own beliefs above others. So why are so many of us bitter, angry and self-righteous?

I’m not saying everyone is those things, we definitely don’t set out to say cruel things to other people (for the most part) but it happens.

I feel like we were the first ones to really lose respect for others. It was a basic social etiquette that we were raised with but now we reserve respect for only those who we feel deserve it – not everyone.

I feel strongly that everyone deserves respect. I taught my children that if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it at all. I accept that other people have different views to me – and I’m fine with that! If we all agreed on the same things then our political happenings wouldn’t be so entertaining.

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But I do feel like somehow, somewhere along the lines we were the ones to lose respect. We think that the younger generations have no respect for others and are running around being rude but have we ever stopped to consider that we’re the ones who raised those generations? And we might not be so innocent ourselves…


Tell me, do you think that our generation has lost the art of respect? Do you think we were the first to show what disrespectful really looked like? Although you may not be personally at fault, do you see it in other people our age?