22 February 2011

Respect is expected

There's a phenomenon sweeping the world today, and it's not limited to any specific population. It's called a lack of respect. I bet almost every person reading this could think of at least one person they've disrespected. I can think of a few myself, but it's been of particular concern at my internship lately.

Understandably, it's difficult to respect someone that is not much older than you, especially if the person is unfortunate enough to look much younger. I've had to fight for respect, and I still don't get much of it- I just don't appear to be the authoritative or even assertive type, and it's easy to walk all over me.

Respect is something I strive to maintain, especially as a future social worker (6 months!!). It is a crucial standard in the NASW Code of Ethics, last revised in 2008.

Respect is not limited to age limitations; how often do you see people disrespecting the other gender because of past events? So many people are hellbent on degrading those of the other gender.

Then there are the issues of other types of discrimination, a core cause of disrespect, which often stems from ignorance (as in lack of knowledge), past experience, cultural bias, and media misrepresentation, to name a few factors.

What I find appalling is just how many people disrespect others openly and blatantly, yet demand that they be respected. I've started calling people sir and ma'am more often, doing things for others, and thanking people for even the smallest things. I think that everyone deserves some level of respect, even if they don't respect you. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and be the stronger person. It may not seem desirable, but giving respect is one of the leading factors in whether someone respects you or not. Sometimes, the person may misinterpret your respectful acts, but that doesn't mean you should stop respecting them. It just means that you may have to work on your approach.

Judgement often leads to issues with respect- if a person has an undesirable trait in an onlooker's eyes, that can often guide them into disrespect that is undeserved. So many people lack respect these days. I challenge each reader of this to take the opportunity to approach someone you've been disrespectful to, apologise, and do something respectful for that person, no matter how small. Hell, apologise to all of them and clear your conscious. After all, we all want to be respected, so we have to show a level of respect that is appropriate and reasonable if we want to be respect.

In my time as an intern, the lack of respect is one of the major problems that I've discovered, and we even held a group in residential on the topic of respect; after all, it is something people will use in all walks of life. Jobs, relationships, any interactions at all, are all opportunities to show respect and value the dignity and worth of the other person, another standard in the guidelines for social workers to follow. No person is undeserving of respect, and this is something that has become increasingly neglected in the values we are passing on to the next generation. Take a moment to think on this, process it, and change your actions.

Auf weidersehen and deuces yo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I say "sir" and "mam" instinctly, thats just how I was brought up.
I believe that it really is the way that you are raised, that influences the way you respect or disrespect others.
In a wonder song from an OLD musical (South Pacific), "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught"...
Even with this 'affirmative action' everyone, we still have all this discrimination, disrespect, hatred...

Deuces yo.

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