Simply Respect

RED HOT NOVEL SERIES LIFE LESSON: “Respect one another!”

When many of us say the word “respect”, we think of Aretha Franklin’s song titled as such. We can hear her spell the word in a commanding rhythm, R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

In my middle school world, it’s a word that is sung in the minds of administrators, teachers, students, custodians, librarians, security officers, and cafeteria workers. In other words, everyone wants to be respected, from the skinniest sixth-grader to the most weathered staff person.

Respect, however, is detoured around as if it’s a bridge that we fear will not support the weight of our vehicle. Others may view the sag in our toughness. Our “coolness” might take a hit. And so we yield to the well-trudged path of disrespect.

How does respect become the way and not the exception? Many years ago I had a professor who told us that there is a battle that goes on when two people meet each other to establish oneupmanship. Each of us wants to unconsciously have a feeling of superiority. An element in respect is the surrendering of that desire to be seen as more important, smarter, more clever, funnier, more athletic, more attractive, more with-it, and more relevant. Instead, I look for the value in the other person, the possibility of a valued relationship, and the sacredness of his being. He/she has been created in the image of God and, therefore, worthy of my respect.

Of course, I can’t really lay all of that on a middle-schooler! He will look at me like I’m an alien being, clueless of what adolescence is all about. What I can do in the classrooms I’m privileged to inhabit is be committed to establishing an environment that values the input and involvement of each student. I can foster a place where we listen to one another, agree to disagree, and agree that it’s okay to agree! I can set up a campsite where everyone has a voice, and there is an equal playing field. What happens in other places is beyond my control, but in the setting that I facilitate I have the right and responsibility to establish certain expectations for the good of everyone.

Truthfully, we live in a time where our culture has come to expect the minimizing of one another, an impatience in listening, and a scowling disrespect. I admire people, especially students, who refuse to cave into the chaos and cruel words, and live with a consistency and commitment to those three words: Respect One Another!

Because of Aretha, we can easily spell it. The challenge is showing it.

Explore posts in the same categories: Novels

Tags: , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: