All We’re Asking for Is a Little Respect
R-E-S-P-E-C-T… Find Out What It Means to Me!
Back in 1993, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, released a song that was written (and earlier recorded) by Otis Redding, (perhaps even when he was “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”). At a time when many were yearning for the return of respect in relationships – and especially those male/female relationships – this song quickly rose to the top of the charts, where it remained for some time. Having been named one of Franklin’s “Top 10 Hits,” it has truly stood the test of time. It seems today – almost 25 years later – that song remains popular as people are still in search of this elusive quality.
BUT, the good news is, it seems that some young children are still being taught the social grace of showing some respect. I was reminded of this just last week when I hosted a meeting at our church that was supposed to have included six or seven adults. Being the organized person that I always try to be, I had selected an appropriate room for the meeting and made sure that the room temperature was comfortable, lights had been turned on, and that chairs were set up conducive to a productive meeting. Imagine my surprise when the first two folks who showed up for the meeting were a couple… but, not just a couple… they had their 6 children (aged 5 to 10) in tow! My inner self was shouting, “You brought your six children with you… and, you hope that we are able to accomplish something at this meeting?” Fortunately, my outer voice prevailed as I graciously – or, at least, I hope that I managed to appear gracious… after all, I try to show some respect, too – said, “Well, come on in. I am so glad that y’all are here.” As I turned to close the exterior door to the church behind me, I silently whispered a prayer to our awesome God for His blessings upon this meeting… because – as I figured it – He would certainly KNOW that we needed it!
Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! The oldest child – a boy – took control over his younger charges like a hen over her brood. He took them outside to play on our playground equipment for most of the time, and you would never have known that children were even on the premises that day! And, the meeting – counting the tour – lasted for almost two hours. The only real reminder that children were among us on that warm, sunny afternoon was at the point in our meeting that we heard a faint knock upon the door to the room where we were meeting. After waiting to be acknowledged before fully opening the door, the wide-eyed little boy who was standing there said, “Excuse me, please, but I need to go to the rest room. Do you mind telling me where it is?” I was astounded! After his visit to the rest room, he returned to the room where we were set up for the duration of our meeting. He listened quietly as the adults finished discussing our business, and not once said anything like: “I’m thirsty!”; “I’m hungry”; or – my personal favorite – “How much longer are y’all gonna be?” NO! He sat there patiently as we completed our discussion and the meeting came to an end… with a prayer, of course! (The little fellow may have secretly been saying “Amen!” in his heart… but, his lips were silent.)
At the end of the meeting, I complimented both parents on their children’s amazing behavior. They said “Thank you!”, of course, but one thing became particularly obvious to me throughout our lengthy meeting. Those children acted the way that they did, not only because that is what they were taught and was expected of them; BUT – even more importantly – that is how their parents acted! They were the perfect role models… and, no doubt are ALWAYS… even on those days that assuredly present some overwhelming challenges for a family with six children! We – as parents, educators, and other adults who play a role in a child’s life – must realize that children do, in fact, learn what they live. If they live in a world full of negativity and bad behavior, then guess what? That’s what they learn! If they live in a world where respect and positive behavior are exhibited by the adults who surround them, then guess what they learn? THAT’S RIGHT: They learn R-E-S-P-E-C-T! It’s not that difficult!! And, just think of what a better world this would be for EVERYONE… IF we ALL learned to show a little more RESPECT! Let’s start now by taking the first steps to become better role models for all of God’s little children!