Whatever Happened to Respect?

Whatever happened to respect? I’m sure I’m not the only one of the baby boomer generation who has asked themselves this question. I’m not talking about giving respect, more about expecting respect. I was watching an episode of Dr. Phil the other day and he was interviewing some parents about their 22-year old son who lived with them (problem #1) who was verbally (problem #2) and physically (problem #3) abusive to them. In a taped segment with the producers, the son was asked: Did you call your mom a whore? Yes. Did you threaten to kill your mom? Yes. Did you hit your mom? Yes. Did you take your mom’s cell phone and break it? Yes. He was then asked why he thought he did those things and he said “Because I was really angry” and “I don’t think they give me the respect I deserve”. By that time, of course, I was screaming at the television “YOU DON’T DESERVE ANY RESPECT!” woman_pulling_hair_out

Just where did the younger generation get the idea that they have to do nothing to earn respect? Where did they get this sense of entitlement? It’s not just this kid that I’ve heard say it, I’ve heard it a number of times during television interviews. Not only do I hate it when a person who clearly has done nothing to earn respect, I hate it even more when they use the phrase “they disrespected me”. That phrase also gets me screaming at the television.My generation was always taught that you “show respect” or are “being “disrespectful”. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “disrespect” is a “transitive verb” (had to look that one up) and does even give an example of “the player once again disrespected fans by refusing to sign autographs”. But just because a word is in the dictionary, doesn’t make it correct. The word “ain’t” is in there too, but if you say that, you sound like a stupid (I was going to say “hoosier” but that would have been disrespectful to people of Indiana) person.

Are we missing teaching something in school? Or have the Generation X parents completely dropped the ball? Let me say this. I respect everyone…I respect a person as a living thing, nothing more. Anything more than that has to be earned. I was asked in a job interview to tell them what I would like in a supervisor. I told them I wanted a person who had more knowledge than me (mistake #1–that came out wrong, lol) and a person whom I could respect. I came from a paramilitary career. I always knew I had to respect the rank and show respect to that rank, but that did not mean I respected the wearing the stripes. That respect, they had to earn. They couldn’t be a womanizer (or manizer? is that a word?) or someone who went out and tied one on every weekend, drove drunk, took advantage of their position, etc. I was also asked to describe my worst supervisor. I told them that ironically, my worst supervisor was also the best person. His abilities on the job were lacking but he was a good, moral and honest person and for that, I respected him.

So to all those young people out there who expect more than common courtesy, I say EARN IT! How do they do that? Live by the “Golden Rule”; treat others as you want to be treated and if you are a religious person, live by the Ten Commandments. Nothing else is needed if you live by those two premises. If someone attempts to do those things consistently, they will be the type of person others respect and by living this way, they will EARN the respect they desire.

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