Respect

Respect. Is it earned? learned? Is it something you show?  What is respect?  There’s different levels of respect.  There’s respect for the position that the person holds, like professor or doctor or president.  Then there’s respect for the person regardless of the position.  This is what I’m speaking to today.  Respect for another because that person is a person just like me with his or her own struggles in life.  Recently I learned a new thing for respect.  This one is the respect you give a person because they are a person regardless of the whether you respect their position… in other words, this is giving respect to someone who’s position you may disagree with or dislike.  A certain professor of mine gets respect from his students because of his title and his ability to flunk them… this respect is because he holds a power over his students that they understand.  But what if you choose to respect this man because of his humanity rather than his title?  What happens then?  What if you start treating your superiors with a common decency that isn’t based on fear?  What happens then?  When you realize that your professor is a human just like you, with pain, happiness, laughter, kids, parents, pets, bills… what if you remember that it’s his job to make sure you learn?  What then?  Then, the respect you have for him is changed.  Instead of fearing flunking because he has the ability to flunk you, you fear flunking because you have the ability to disappoint him.  You have the ability to ruin his day.  You have the ability to fail yourself.  You see?  He knows that you have the ability to pass and he knows that if he can get you to see that, that you will.  Every time someone doesn’t pass it shoots him like a personal failure, a failure of him teaching you what you really need to know.   If you begin to respect him for a person, a real person, then the power he has over you is changed.  Instead of him “forcing” you to learn, you want to learn.  Instead of him “giving you a bad grade”, you’ve earned what you deserve.  The fault of the grade bounces off of him and squarely back where it belongs, on you.  Respecting another person forces you to face yourself.  Facing yourself then helps you to realize that there’s one more person in the picture, a person in the mirror, that deserves your respect too. You.

thanks for reading,

me