Monday 26 Sep 2016

Respectfully Yours
Jennifer Flaten

Recently I read a blog in which the writer expressed her views on respect. Specifically, she detailed how her children do not automatically respect adults. Nope, her children demand that adults earn their respect.

I just can't get behind this idea.

First, let's consider that kids have zero experience on which to base their assessments. That is the joy of being a kid; you really haven't had many trials in your life. I don't care what angst-ridden teens tell you, up until adulthood life is pretty much a cakewalk.

The writer claimed that her children were learning from experience. Specifically, they learn from their interaction with her. Her parenting style is to treat the children fairly, thus earning the respect of their kids.

Well, that's fine and dandy, but there will come a day when you may think you are being fair to your kids but they may not see it that way, so do you lose their respect?

Should parents ever "lose" the respect of their kids?

I think kids should always respect their parents. I didn't say like them, I said respect them. I don't think it is an option whether you respect your parents or not, you just do.

Second, is it even possible for kids to have a benchmark of respect in which to gauge adults? Even after dealing with parents who treat them "fairly" do the kids themselves have enough worldly experience that they are sentient of what it takes to have "earned" respect?

We need to step back to a time when teachers got respect because they were teachers. Look at today's classrooms some of those kids are monsters.

I shake my head about some of the stories that come home about the kids in school. Long gone are the days when teachers commanded the respect of their classrooms simply by being the educated leader of the classroom.

Nope, teachers get no respect for being in charge, now days they have to earn the respect of their second graders.

I wonder how exactly a second grader goes about deeming someone worthy of respect. Does the teacher have to burp the alphabet, be able to stuff 10 tennis balls in their mouth...see where I am going with this? What criteria is a kid capable of using to give this respect?

I think this is a very dangerous idea. Take a minute to consider what it would be like if every person had to "earn" the respect of every other person, through some abstract and varying criteria.

See now that sounds asinine.

The writer's main point for this "earning respect" seemed to be that she doesn't want her kids blindly listening to any adult. Well, I think you can teach the stranger danger and still teach kids to have respect.

There was a time when the mantra was, respect your elders. At one time, every child knew to be polite and respectful to adults. Somewhere, society lost that teaching. I think it was during the hippie era.

For some reason, the hippies really had a thing for respect. I believe they started the "respect you have to earn it" generation.

I do not agree, I think all people deserve respect and courtesy.

A person doesn't have to do something extraordinary to earn respect. I think the world would be a far better place if we dropped this earning respect crap.

Everyone deserves respect, from the CEO who runs your company and holds your fate, in their hands to the clerk who hands you your change. I think all humanity would be better off if everyone respected each other a little bit more.

In fact, the less you know about someone the more respect you should give them. Why, should you do this? Simply put, because you don't know anything about them.

I did not say you had to give them esteem or hold them in regard you have to respect them, that's all. Esteem and regard are, in my opinion, things to be earned.

Therefore, until you actually know someone, you need to respect their right to receive fair treatment. Moreover, you need to respect their right to be human beings, until you learn something about a person that would make them lose your esteem, like they are thieves, malicious gossips or murderers. Until you learn something like that about them then you owe them respect.

I think we are turning into a society that respects a 20-year-old starlet simply because she is beautiful, she can be as dumb as hell and rude to boot but we respect her because of her youth and beauty.

So with all due respect, I think this idea is a lot of bull.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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