Respect For Others Is Nearing Extinction

Community pools was one of the features tackled in the news last night. A middle-aged reporter was interviewing a teenage boy about the vandalized community park. At first, I was caught up by the actual topic in the news but after hearing the way the boy spoke to the reporter, my interest suddenly changed direction.  Instead of sharing my opinion with my husband about pools and swimming venues, I decided to just mull over at how our society nowadays display such a lack of respect for other people, especially the elders.

‘Po’ and ‘opo’ are trademark words of us Filipinos when it comes to showing respect to people older than us. These are the words we seldom hear these days from the younger generation, evidenced by what I have just seen in the news.

Our government and the governments of nations across the globe are seriously concerned about implementing laws to protect animal and plant species that are in danger of extinction. Apparently, animals and plants are not the only ones nearing extinction. It appears that essential human values may also be categorized as ‘endangered’ as well.

Search the internet and you can easily find news articles about kids showing such rudeness to other people.  An article by Fiona Macrae and Paul Sims is just one example that show how very young children, still in the nursery-age years, have already been displaying disrespect, rudeness and violence toward their teachers.

Dr Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, said nursery-age children are becoming increasingly violent and disrespectful towards their teachers, ‘parent battering’ is on the rise and the number of policemen attacked by children is soaring.

The Spoilt Generation: Parents who fail to exert authority breeding youngsters with no respect for anyone.

Lack of respect is indeed a problem that a majority of people seem not to mind even though it poses a serious dilemma on our values and character education.  In fact, when we tolerate this disrespectful behavior, it can eventually lead to crime and violence. Clearly, our present society lacks the clear perception about respect.

To be kind and to show goodness to other people, that is just how we casually define the word respect.  When you respect a person, it means that you will not make fun of him or her. You will consider if a person may feel offended by what you will say and do.

When shopping for groceries and the bagger helped you carry your grocery bags, you say ‘thank you’. That is respect.

When a person dresses in a unique outfits, you simply think that it is his personal style and expression instead of laughing at him. Again, that is respect.

When you see an old lady having a hard time crossing the street because of her baggage, you help her carry her things. That is also showing respect.

Sadly, even these simple gestures are hardly done by many people.

Reason For Lack Of Respect:

There can be a lot of reasons why respect is simply forgotten by mankind.

Gary Petty, a pastor of the United Church of God congregations, said in a web article that this is because of our negative response to the values taught by the Bible.

We increasingly see a general lack of respect and rudeness in our society. This is a result of our rejection of basic Biblical values.

Why the lack of respect in society?

From the same article, Gary also says that the root cause of all these is lack of love.

“Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking. 1 Cor 13:5”

Indeed, when there is love inside our hearts that we are willing to give to other people, perhaps we would be more careful on how we socialize and interact with them. We would be more considerate of the feelings and well-being of other people.

An old man gets on a crowded bus and no one gives him a seat. As the bus shakes and rattles, the old man’s cane slips on the floor and he falls. As he gets up, a seven-year-old kid, sitting nearby, turns to him and says, “If you put a little rubber thingy on the end of your stick, it wouldn’t slip.”

The old man snaps back: “Well, if your daddy did the same thing seven years ago, I would have a seat today.”

When you read this joke, you probably laughed at it yet this is a classic instance of being disrespectful.

What Can Be Done

We all need to learn and understand what respect is and it should all start from home.  Education starts inside the home. If you are a parent, you need to know that you are your child’s first teacher.  It is from the home where a child learns all about love, care, obedience, respect and other important values.

When a parent hurts a child for not obeying orders, it is possible that the child will develop hate towards the parent and show disrespect even more. When a parent shows love and concern for the child through polite words and kind actions, that child will certainly show respect for the parent. If a child grows up this way, he is more likely to interact with other kids and with his teacher in the school with respect.

Teaching a child, about respect should be done through action. Allow your child to experience respect and he will start to understand what it really is and how important it is.  Teach your child about the Golden rule that says you must do to others what you want them to do unto you. Teach your child to be honest, to admit a mistake and apologize for it. Teach your child about being good-mannered. Do not embarrass or insult your kid. Show your child about following your orders and eventually, he will know how to obey rules.  Use polite words when speaking to your kid and keep your promises to show reliability. Give your child your complete attention and he will learn to be a good listener.

respect is like a tree, it starts from the seed but it needs nurturing to grow

While there are a lot of proofs showing that respect is slowly disappearing from the face of the world, hope is not lost until it is completely gone. Just like what the image shows, love can be fruits from a tree that should be planted, nurtured and taken care of. Parents, along with teachers and educators should seriously instill respect and other significant values into the hearts and minds of children.