Thursday, August 16, 2012


My mother is 82 years old. She’s mellowing in her old age but most of her life she hasn’t held back telling me what she thinks. Much of the time I haven’t liked what she said, especially if it was criticism of me, but I held my tongue and even bit it a few times. Why did I do that when my natural tendency is to fight back? I do it because she’s my mother and I respect her even when I disagree with her or think she’s clueless. There are young people in my office who insist on calling me Mr. Brown. I believe they do it out of respect for my age since I am one of the older people in a work area dominated by much younger people. Of course, respect is not just about age. I personally believe young people should respect older people who have been around the block a few times. There is a level of cordial respect that seems to be eroding in our society. Deep respect, however, must be earned. In my mind anyone who is continuously disrespectful of others is immature and ignorant. Depending on the nature of the relationship they may also be ungrateful. This all goes back to my basic belief about karma. What you put out there comes back to you. Be disrespectful to others and you will be disrespected. Treat others with the dignity they deserve and you will be given the dignity you deserve. If you are pompous and arrogant, don’t expect a lot of love in return. If you’re loving and kind and respectful, you will receive love, kindness, and respect in return.

I like the following thought from George Washington Carver. What he describes is really what respect is all about.

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.

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