Friday, August 26, 2011

Showing Respect

I had a discussion on my own anti-bullying page the other day about respect. What is the difference between showing respect toward someone you like and admire and being respectful toward someone you don't like?

Is there such a thing? Why do I need to be respectful toward people I don't like, or toward people who don't like me?

In my eyes, the answer is simple. We show respect toward people because it's the right thing to do, and because we are role models for the next generation. If we are teaching people that bullying is not right, then why not be the bigger person and show respect for all individuals?

I'm not saying that we have to like everyone we meet. That can be darned near impossible. There are always personality conflicts and disagreements and different values. It would be unrealistic if we were to ask people to like everyone they met. However, it IS realistic to ask people to at least show respect to all individuals no matter how they feel about them.

Being respectful simply means not reacting or acting in a negative way toward the person you don't like. It means not rolling your eyes, or talking about them behind their back, or bullying them. It means walking away, instead of engaging in rude behavior toward that person. It means agreeing to disagree in a polite manner when there are opposing views of a topic. It means allowing others to have those views without putting them down.

One of my members said something I thought was very true. "You may not get reciprocation but that's not too terribly important. What's important is doing the right thing by attempting to agree to disagree without being insulting or overbearing."

Another person said, "To an observer, there should be no difference at all." I think this sums it all up perfectly.

I teach my kids about respect all of the time. I would be very hypocritical if I did not show respect toward others in return. My children are my observers, and I am their role model. They should never have to ask me if I don't like a person, by my actions and behavior.

Children learn what they live. It's something I think we should all remember.


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