Respect is defined as a feeling of admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. To show esteem or honor for someone or something. An example of respect is to truly listen to someone when they are speaking. Another example of showing respect is to walk around the manicured lawn, using a sidewalk when available, rather than walking right through the yard.

When I was in grade school anytime an adult, teacher, clergy entered the room we would all stand up beside our desk and greet them by saying, “Good morning Father Sheamus.” We were taught to respect our elders. You would think twice about talking back to someone older than you and you always showed respected to police officers and elected officials. Teaching children respect and good manners will serve them well in their adult lives when things become much more complicated.

Some say you need to earn respect and to some extent I would agree with this statement but what about Police officers and elected officials? Should we only show respect if they “deserve” it? Would it be better to show respect first and only if their words and actions prove that they are undeserving that we change our feelings towards them? I’m not implying what the right choice is for everyone but I do believe that showing kindness and respect to each other should always come first regardless of what they do for a living or who they are. When and if someone is undeserving, then and only then, should that kindness and respect be withdrawn and to do so in the best positive light that you can given the circumstances. It’s just good manners to keep ourselves and our emotions in check. “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.” Laurence Sterne.

Our words and actions attract what we expect. If you expect to be respected and treated with kindness then your words and actions need to mirror just that. You should never be anyone’s “door mat” and you can’t force someone to respect you but you can refuse to be disrespected. You reap what you sow. Zig Ziglar once said, “Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you.”

Your kindness challenge is to thank a police office or elected official this week. Their jobs are long, stressful and often unappreciated. I’m choosing these two professions on purpose this week because we are in an election season and emotions are running high. There isn’t a better time to sit back, take a deep breath and show some kindness. If you sow kindness, you will reap kindness. If you give, you will receive. If you love you will be loved. It never hurts to look back on those lessons we learned so long ago and put them back into action. It can still be as simple as standing up next to your desk and showing some respect and good manners.

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