Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Happened to Respect?

Saw a blog the other day titled “If you are not kind on the internet, you are not kind.” Read another about respect in the work place: respect for those you are interviewing, respect for your employees and employers, respect for those interviewing you. A pastor friend who writes a little devotional message every morning on Facebook wrote about respecting each other. And finally a long family dinner table conversation about respect in the family ~ children and parents and friends. The essence of every one of these conversations was the loss of respect for other people. 

People yell at each other, curse each other and instead of talking about or tackling an issue, we attack a person’s values, morals, personality or belief system. Please and Thank you seem to have gone out of our vocabulary. Kids rarely use those words after age 5 or 6 and I have seen parents knock a child on the side of the head and yell to make the child behave politely. Oh really? 

I realize the anonymity of the internet has contributed to our slip from civilized conversation. If I can call you all sorts of names (and being the age I am, I can’t even write a suggestion here), and you never know exactly who I am. When there is no risk of our meeting face to face, then it is easier to give vent to my opinion about you rather than about the issues you espouse. 

I like a good meaty argument. I don’t mind agreeing to disagree or even walking away and not engaging with another person because our views are just too different to keep up any kind of a relationship. And the fact is, that person is a child of the Divine even as I am and you are. Somehow we need to recognize that. 

There is Hindu tradition that I love: greeting or leaving another with the word “Namaste”. Here is a quote that explains it very well:

“The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgement of the soul one by the soul in another. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means ‘bow me you’ or ‘I bow to you.’ “ (Aadil Palkhivala)

Every religious faith contains within the belief that we are come from a Divine Source and carry that Spirit within us. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to respect that Divinity in everyone we meet? Namaste. 


Philip Miller said...


If I speak with the eloquence of a Broadway actor, yet without showing respect, I'm nothing more than a badly played violin scratching and screeching in the night.

And if I've earned doctoral degrees and published world-class research, and if I have the confidence and will-power to reach any and every goal, but fail to show respect, I actually accomplish nothing.

If I endow hospitals and universities, or if I become a martyr for some great cause, but do all of this without an attitude of respect, my contribution amounts to nothing.

Respect is more than mere toleration. Respect starts with sincere belief in the equal worth of the other person. Respect means not worrying about who's in control, and so it doesn't lend itself to resentment. Respect wants the best for the other person.

Eloquence, education, and even philanthropy will fade with time, but with the passing of the years, respect only increases in value.

Tahoe Mom said...

Beautiful, Phil. Thank you. I hope my readers check the comments and see this.