An NFL player the other day was found live on Facebook blatantly doing exactly what his coach was saying in another part of the locker room NOT to do. Soldiers these days are continually mocked, scorned and ignored for serving their country admirably. Respect?
College professors feel they can promote their religious faith, leaders or atheistic perspectives while making fun or even providing lower grades to those who don't hold similar views. Respect?
There are few who are exempt from the disrespect, now almost a badge of courage to many of those in the media, halls of politics or entertainment business. What has happened to respect? In my thinking it's slowly being gobbled up by crass humor, entitlement, elitism and selfishness.
It's one thing to disagree with someone. It's another to call them names, speak about them in a setting designed for another purpose or to simply treat them as dirt because they don't happen to see or live life the way you do.
And it happens in many smaller arenas including churches, schools, local governments, neighborhood associations and restaurants. And what is even worse is that those doing the disrespecting demand exactly that of themselves or of those who they would support. It's what I call one-way tolerance.
What is respect? Treating another person with dignity and openness whether we agree with them or not. And if our culture is going to remove it then we parents must be that much more determined to require it of our children, model it and go the extra mile to see that it remains a value in our homes, churches and places of work.
How do we teach it? One, model it in your own conversations or commentary on public life. Use phrases like, we may not agree but that person still deserves our respect.
Two, ask those who disagree with you to 'tell me more.' Be willing to learn more about what someone else thinks before you respond to their perspective. Still be their friend and agree to disagree.
Three, I think we need to keep speaking out against the one-way tolerance and commentary. We can graciously write to our political leaders and editorial pages while speaking about it with those we know. Maybe at some point a few people will finally realize that if we lose R-E-S-P-E-C-T we're going to also lose part of O-U-R-S-E-L-V-E-S, something that we may never be able to bring back.