Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Teach R-E-S-P-E-C-T Because It's Almost G-O-N-E

In January our current President was sworn in. But even some of his own party have chosen to work against him, not for him. Hollywood elites have publicly stated their own uninformed disdain for him and others with whom they disagree.

The other night so-called comedian Stephen Colbert unleashed about him one of the most vulgar attacks ever made against anyone on network television.

For months now police have been excoriated for just doing their job, mistreated at many junctures because one law officer did something unwise or even made a horrible mistake.

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 of or even providing lower grades to those who don't hold similar views. Respect?

There are few who are exempt from the new disrespect, now almost a badge of courage to many of those in the media, halls of politics or entertainment business. What has happened to treating people kindly even if we disagree with them? In my thinking respect is quickly 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 the opposite for 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, television networks and editorial pages while speaking without apology about it to 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.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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