November: Be Respectful

November 07, 2017

I don't believe that respect and tolerance are synonymous.  Tolerate means to allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.  Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements

German philosopher Johann Goeth taught, "Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is.  Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be."  Remember those ribbons I was trying to acquire?  One of the "values" is Individual Worth.  For one experience it said, "Heavenly Father has given you special gifts."  Then I was to ask a family member and a friend to write down positive qualities they think the Lord has given me.  They were both very generous with their responses and I'm not sure I recognize in myself everything they listed.  But I do know it makes me want to try harder to develop those qualities.

It reminded me of something my son's 2nd grade teacher said.  As we were preparing to go to parent/teacher conference, I asked Cody what his teacher may tell us.  He said, "She always tells me when I do something good."  When I was talking to the teacher, I told her that he loves that she points out the positive.  Her response - "Don't we all!"

Respect is more than tolerance.  Even in my own family there are different opinions, different life styles, but we all respect each other and try to learn from each other.  In some instances we try to embrace those differences.  For instance, I'm trying to cook more vegetarian friendly food - but I still love my meat.  And if you don't tell My Mr. B it's "vegetarian", he even likes some of it.

I love the song that says, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love."  But in today's times I think we need to start with respect.  It needs to be taught and exhibited in the home, in school, in church.  "Today we live in times of conflict, differences of opinion, disagreements.  There is a need for us, perhaps more than ever before, to allow respect, charity, and forgiveness to influence our actions with each other."  That was said by Loren C. Dunn 26 years ago in 1991, and it's still true today.  

Stephen R. Covey said, "One definition I have used for leadership . . . that I believe well represents the principle of respect is this:  Leadership is communicating people's worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves."  He also said, "It is easy and even ego-boosting to respect people similar to us.  But it is valuing people different from us that unveils the most noble forms of respect."

Perhaps any of us could get along with perfect people.  But our task is to get along with imperfect people.


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