A Little Respect

How on earth do parents give their children guidance on respect? For anything or anyone? There is another question: one that is sometimes heard coming from the mouths of said youngsters. ‘Why should I have respect for anything?’ Given the way the world of people seems to have evolved this is probably a reasonable thing to ask of us ‘olduns’. For respect to exist it seems to me that a few other things need to be firmly in place. Conscience, empathy and stability (in all senses of the word), three values that should be fundamentally engrained in children by parents long before attempting to answer the ‘why should I’ question above. In any event, who or what qualifies for respect today that only a couple of generations ago were taken as given? In a list of ‘whats’ there would be public or private property, cemeteries, war memorials, volume levels: all that kind of thing. These inanimate ‘things’ are still seen as representations of worthiness of respect in a civilised society. Because they’re simply monuments or concepts they themselves will not have changed. People on the other hand are different. In years gone by I was in no doubt as to the individuals that my parents wished me to tender as much respect as possible. Mum and dad were at the top of the list, then there was the emergency services, my headmaster, teachers, all clergy of any religion, neighbours, our family doctor, ones employer, a few others and, yes, even the dead. Yet when it comes to the professions: to people, as has always been the case, they too must earn the right to respect, something which I believe has sadly altered to their detriment. I dislike the expression ‘dumping-down’ yet it perfectly describes my calculated view of society. Poor parenting plus a lack of self respect within the professions equals confused and, quite often unruly children. To this day I still have great respect for the Police Officer’s uniform and will still address my doctor as ‘Doctor’. If a funeral passes by I will stop and bow my head as a mark of respect for both the departed and those who mourn. Last weekend our Vicar visited our home, just for a chat, yet I still deem this to be an honour, and every hospitably and due respect is afforded. My mother was an ‘old fashioned’ God-fearing woman, and woe betides anyone who might undermine or conspire against a Priests right to run their Parish as they would see fit. All of this because I will not, under any circumstances disrespect the memory, name or the values of my parents. I have yet to be convinced that there is another way yet in all other aspects of life I consider myself as open minded as the next person. So Why are those in ‘authority’ and we so surprised when the young act disrespectfully when we haven’t given them guidelines for civilised living from day one. Whose fault is that?


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