This is part three of an eight part series based on the U.S. Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. The reader will no doubt discover that these tenets carry over into all facets of life and are not limited to military service.
Treating people as they should be treated is where respect begins and ends. We see this as an example in “The Golden Rule” – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s the forward thinking of this, the concept of putting others first, that puts the power in our hands to do good or to do evil. We have it in our nature to do good and that is one of the primary things that makes us all human.
Putting forth positive energy will come back to you, and the contrary is true about negative energy. You reap the seeds that you sow. It could be argued that one must show respect for others before entertaining any thoughts of receiving respect. You must be respectful to get respect in this instance but showing respect does not come easy to some people. It might be that they see this as a sign of weakness, that they will be seen as a lesser person. This is mere speculation, but in the daily news cycle that we see and hear every day, our country, our people are in dire need of more respect for one another.
People in leadership positions often have the authority to be respected, but sometimes this is limited to the paper on which it is written. Respect doesn’t come from a document; it comes from the heart. Leaders who don’t understand this often fail at their attempts to gain instant respect from all parties at all times and nothing comes out of this but divisiveness cynicism, and even hatred of those in charge. These leaders misconstrue respect as fear and are almost always destined to fail. Compassionate leaders understand the value of each person in the organization. They nurture their subordinates to grow and become the workers and the people they were meant to be. “Firm but Fair” summarizes this kind of leadership and we need more of it at every level, in every institution in this great country of ours.
It’s not unreasonable to assume that we as humans teach as we have been taught. Perhaps this is why we see so many examples of the lack of respect amongst ourselves in this day and time. Contrary to that, one could argue that those who have been taught to respect their elders, to respect those in charge, and to respect the feelings and needs of other people owe a great debt to their parents or whomever they learned from. These are the people who get it. They understand that respect flows both ways.
Respect in a relationship is by far the key to making it last. In fact, love without respect simply doesn’t exist. When we truly respect each other in a relationship we willingly accept all the good and all the bad and all the perfect imperfections. Also, good positive communication and patience come naturally when we respect each other in a relationship. It’s the day-to-day small moments where we show our character by respecting each other. It’s not always easy, but most times doing what’s right outweighs what’s convenient. Putting someone else’s needs above your own beckons of selflessness, and indeed, love. All of this sits at the very core of the human condition. Someone very important said to “Love your neighbor as yourself” and if we could all do just that what a wonderful world it would be. Respect others, respect authority, and respect yourselves. You’ll be glad you did.
The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Alan Shoalmire. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.
Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant Hotdogs and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.