Posted tagged ‘disrespect’

Respecting The Office

June 3, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         June 3, 2016


I was not always on the same page with my parents. For example, I wanted to grow my hair out…like all the other kids…but my mom and dad kept me looking like a cue ball with fuzz until I was halfway through high school. “Morris Barber Shop” in downtown Ironton, Ohio is still “razor shaved” into my memory!

My mom’s definition of cleanliness differed from mine. If my bedroom “looked like a tornado hit it”, that meant my bedspread was slightly tilted to the side and one of the sliding doors on the closet was open.

On several other issues that I thought at the time were life-changing, or life-restricting, we differed as well. BUT I always greatly respected my mom and dad. We didn’t have to agree with one another. When Mom fixed dinner I did not receive a menu to decide what was to be served. I was not asked whether or not I wanted the spinach that was staring at me from my plate. I did not have voting privileges! I never doubted my parents’ love for me, even if I did doubt their sanity and thought that “they were so unreasonable!”

They were not swayed by the popular vote.

ME: ”Everybody’s doing it!”

MOM: “Not everybody! You aren’t!”

There is a difference between agreeing with your parents and respecting your parents.

Yesterday, I attended the Air Force Academy graduation ceremonies. The second cadet that we have been the sponsor family for, Justin Katzovitz, graduated, so Carol and I went to celebrate this incredible milestone in his life alongside his parents, twin sister, and other relatives.

I had the opportunity to see my first President in person. I thought President Obama’s speech was very good. Most of what he said I agreed with, but there were a couple of things that he said that I didn’t agree with.

When I posted a picture from the graduation of the President standing at the podium and simply wrote “I saw my first President at the Air Force graduation today”…and left it at that, it was interesting to see all the comments from people. Some said “Great! That must have been awesome!”, and others said “I’m sorry you had to hear him!”

Is it wrong to disagree with someone, but still respect him?

In my mind “respect” does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with agreement. Kind of like with my parents! When one group sees the president as the greatest thing since sliced bread, while another group sees him as the worst thing since the Yugo it seems that a person’s political perspective is the lens that the view is looking through.

I’ll admit that I’m a registered Republican who voted for Romney in 2012, but I still respect the person who holds the office.

Of course, respect is defined in different ways by different people, but one thing that gets voiced quite often, and in various settings, these days is the lack of respect. Teachers sense that in the classroom with their students and with the parents of their students. Customers sense it in the employees that willingly take their money, and employees sense it in how some of their customers treat them. Coaches deal with it in the players they coach. Police deal with it in how citizens communicate to them.

And people holding public office deal with it as they seek to serve the citizens. In Michigan I served on our community’s school board for five years. I don’t remember anyone coming to one of our monthly school board meetings to affirm us on a tough decision, or to thank us for leading our community in the constant pursuit of quality education.

Respect is what each one of us desires to receive, but not as open to give. In our President’s last seven months of office I’m sure he will make some decisions that I don’t agree with, but he will always have my respect.

It’s interesting to me that in the negativity of our culture and the polarization of our beliefs that we seldom anymore hear these words: I respectfully disagree!

Karen Klein Grace

June 22, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                        June 22, 2012



What would you do if you had been sitting on a school bus and been mercilessly teased by some classmates about your height, or your weight, or your stuttering problem, or some other personal difficulty that had a way of making you feel like half of a person? Some of us went through experiences like that…eighth graders tormenting the new sixth grader on the bus…obnoxious varsity athletes saying inappropriate things to an introverted young lady…bullies making fun of the math whiz…sometimes the school bus was the worst part of the school day.

Most of us, however, were infuriated at the completely different level by the viral video of a 68 year old, hard-of-hearing, grandmother of eight lady named Karen Klein. A school bus monitor in New York, she was tormented worse than the worst belittling of any political campaign commercial by four middle school male students. A fifth student videoed the torture on his cell phone, and then posted it.

The story hit the major news telecasts, and a fund was started to send Karen Klein on a vacation. The fund has raised over $450,000. Obviously the incident touched two nerves- one of outrage and the other of generosity.

Karen Klein’s sense of forgiveness and grace has risen to the surface in the midst of this. Whereas, many of us might be mentally constructing some gallows, she has voiced her hope that no criminal charges be issued. Perhaps the most appropriate discipline, she suggests, would be a one year ban on riding the school bus. The school district is weighing what the consequences should be for the students involved.

The situation has raised to the surface something that doesn’t get talked about very often, and that is, generational discomfort and disrespect. Too often there are inappropriate words and actions said or done b y adults towards the youngest generations. Hang around a mall long enough and you’ll hear some adult griping about sagging pants, ear-ringed guys, or inappropriately dressed young ladies. But, on the other side, watch a young adult who gets stuck behind a senior citizen driving five miles under the speed limit and the reaction is unbelievable impatience.

“Karen Klein grace” is an element that someone should write a book about. A grace that forgives, and encourages caring for one another even after mistreatment has occurred. A grace that is open to hearing what is going on in the other person’s life, even though I have a physical hearing problem. It’s a grace that has been through the flames (Her son committed suicide ten years ago.), and knows the depths a life might fall to, but the hope that a life can also rise back to.

It’s interesting that this story broke the week after I preached about the passage in James 3:1-12, about the power and potential of our words. It’s a reminder of the damage they can cause, or the joy they can help create.

I’m sure that as Karen Klein journeys with her grand-kids to Disney World on a vacation that has been given to her, there will be a degree of sadness. To realize that the Magic Kingdom experience is because of the troubling words of a few adolescents will not be forgotten by her.

I pray that her sense of being a grace-filled and gracious person will remain as clear within her heart and life.