Posted: May 25, 2013
Life Lessons for My Grandkids:
R – E – S – P – E – C – T
I oftentimes hear some people, usually of the younger generation stating things like, “I’ll respect them when they respect me”, or “I deserve respect” or “I demand respect” or “they owe me respect.” I think one of the best lessons we can learn in this world, in order to get along in it the best, is to realize that no one owes us anything. Once you let that sink down into your soul, you’ll be better able to learn how to earn respect from others, how to show respect to others and how to respect yourself.
When people walk around with the attitude that the world owes them something, that they are entitled, then it usually comes across as a chip on their shoulder. Don’t misunderstand me, some groups of people should be entitled to certain compensations and privileges and/or rights, I’m not arguing that, because of how their people were mistreated historically, as in Native Americans, Black Americans, Jewish people, and many others, but for the sake of this posting, I’m speaking of individuals and how individuals can better thrive in this crazy, mixed up world as a person who belongs to the human race, which has nothing at all to do with the color of their skin or what happened to their ancestors, because all of us sooner or later have to let go of the past to move forward with the future. Letting go of the past doesn’t require forgetting – only some forgiveness. We should never forget the horrific treatments some people have had to endure at the hands of governments or a people who perceive themselves to be better than others.
We as individuals are brought into this world first and foremost, because God wanted us here, secondly, because our parents gave birth to us. All of us in this world have our “crosses” to bare. Some of us didn’t get the best parents in the world, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t overcome, if we have to. For the most part, the great majority of us, are loved by our families, but if that isn’t the case, there is one constant you can always count on, which is God’s love.
But regardless of the circumstances of our childhoods, once we become adults, we are much better off to realize that our parents don’t owe us anything, God doesn’t owe us anything, our families don’t owe us anything and other people don’t owe us anything.
We owe it to ourselves to work toward having the best life possible for ourselves and our future families. There are many life lessons we have to learn, but that’s one of the great things about living – we are meant to learn and grow as individuals. God made us that way – we are meant to become dependent on Him for everything, and once we fully realize that, our lives will so much better – we will have better relationships, make better choices, make better money – everything will be better.
Respect is a life-long lesson. As children, we have to learn to respect our parents. We do that by listening to their instruction, following their rules, and generally doing what they expect of us, even though we might not always agree. I have often heard teenagers state that they don’t respect their parents, because their parents don’t respect them. The truth is, if they acted respectful toward their parents and teachers and others, their parents would respect them. It’s no secret that many kids grow up with parent(s), who don’t always act in a respectful manner (abusing themselves with alcohol and drugs, being promiscuous, not acting respectful toward their partner or spouse). But the truth is, until we are eighteen, we do have to respect our parents and do as they say, not always as they do. It’s a fact of life. As a young adult, then you are free to decide for yourselves what is respectful behavior and what isn’t. Until then, parents rule.
Some people believe you can command respect by wielding weapons or acting out in violent ways. That is not respect – that is fear. You might be able to get someone to listen to you, if you’re holding a gun to their head or threatening to beat them up or spouting threats, but it will only last as long as you are holding something over them. It is fleeting. They are acting out of fear, not respect for you and what you stand for. Respect can last a lifetime once you earn it – fear is momentary. People overcome fear eventually.
Respect is not a right we are born with. It has to be earned. All throughout our lives, we make decisions and choices that can either earn us the respect of others or damage our credibility a bit.
As a student, how do you earn respect? Here are a few ways:
Do your homework and turn it in on time.
Do the best you can at all times. You don’t have to be the smartest, you just have to put forth the effort.
Help other classmates when they are struggling.
Stand up for those being bullied.
Stand up for what you believe in without being aggressive and obnoxious.
Stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Volunteer when there is an occasion to help others.
Be polite – remember the manners you’ve been taught.
Keep your word. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – that’s how you learn.
After all the things we learn in school (grade school through college), we have to go into the real world and apply those things for ourselves. For most of us, that means getting a job sooner or later. How do we earn respect as an employee? Here are just a few ways:
Show up to work on time.
Do the best you can at all times, putting forth extra effort all the time.
Work as a team member to accomplish the mission and goals of your organization. Realize that you are just a cog in the wheel – your part is important, but it’s not the only part.
Treat your coworkers as you want to be treated. This works in all areas of life, and is also known as the “golden” rule.
If you have ideas to help the organization prosper, or be a better place to work, present them in a non-aggressive manner to those in charge, respecting that their time is valuable.
Don’t gossip about others in your workplace.
Be responsible with alcohol consumption – never consuming while on duty. Stay away from illegal drugs – it will only get you fired eventually.
Keep your word, get your projects done when you say they’ll be done.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – if everyone is on the same “team” as it should be, others will be eager to provide assistance.
The majority of us find a partner in life to live with. How do we earn respect as a partner to the one we love? Here are just a few ways:
Listen to our partner when they are talking. Don’t interrupt them – let them finish, then make comments so they know they’ve been heard.
Share in the day to day chores of living – housework, duties and responsibilities of raising children, cooking, etc.
Encourage your partner to be themselves, to be the best they can be and to succeed wherever they so choose – just be supportive.
Don’t boss your partner around – they are not your child or subordinate.
Share your hopes and dreams with your partner.
Share your faith – spend time reading, studying, praying and learning about God.
Don’t sweat the small things – let them go and work on only the major issues in the relationship.
Compromise. (Look it up in the dictionary if you don’t know what it means – it’s one of those life lessons you best be learning as soon as you can.)
Don’t always be the one to decide everything. Let your partner make decisions as much as you do.
Cherish your differences. No one wants to be married or living with a carbon copy of themselves – that would be too boring.
How do we earn God’s respect? Here are just a few ways:
Study the Bible – it is God’s word – it is the key to a successful life.
Make church a priority – it shows God that you respect Him.
Make it a daily routine to spend time praying and meditating and building a relationship with God.
Know that God is in all areas of your life, He is everywhere and responsible for everything – once you know and accept that, you’re life will be more peaceful and it will be much easier to respect others and yourself.
Keep his commandments to the best of your ability – if you fail, remember that Jesus died for our forgiveness of sins, so we are not condemned – we only need to ask for His forgiveness and try harder to obey.
Help others with whatever means you have available – whether it be with time, money or service.
Spend a portion of your day being thankful for everything God has given you.
Be what God created you to be. If you don’t know what that is, pray for answers. Eventually, you will have them.
Don’t compare yourself to others. God created you just as you are meant to be.
Practice the “golden” rule – it works in every area of your life.
We as individuals often make the wrong choices, causing others to lose respect for us, but worst of all, we lose respect for ourselves. The good news is, bad choices might temporarily drag us down, but we can always begin again and start earning respect again. Over time, with consistent respectful behavior, you can earn the respect of others once again, and most importantly of God and yourself. There is always hope that we can live respectful lives – respecting God, others and ourselves. It’s the only way to really live. Anything else, is just cheating yourself out of the best life has to offer.
These words of wisdom offered to my precious grandchildren are respectfully submitted by Grandma Renee out of a great love for each and every one of them.