North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

October 3, 2013

Danielle Cater: Putting the emphasis on respect

Danielle Cater: Putting the emphasis on respect

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

NORTH JEFFERSON — “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me...” Aretha Franklin must have really known what she was talking about when she put the emphasis on respect.

I can’t ever talk about respect without singing that song in my head.

Respect is something that is earned, not just given. But we are suppose to respect those who are the rulers over us whether they have earned that position or not. Respect isn’t always fair, but it is required in order for us to live lives of peace. If there were no respect for authority, then policemen would be treated as any other citizens and there would be a hectic martial law type of environment. We have to respect the laws and those whom we have been assigned to serve under.

If you are a parent, then you know how important respect can be in the home. If a child is disrespectful to their parents, it will send chills up my spine. I often think things like, “Oh, if that were my daughter, I’d yank her up and put a whoopin’ on her right this second.” But it has been pointed out to me lately that I allow my daughters to treat me with disrespect at times, too. Sometimes I’m just too busy or too tired to really address the issue, but that’s an issue that many parents need to address with their children.

In our homes, children aren’t the only ones who need to be giving respect. Guess where kids learn respect? Go ahead, take a guess — that’s right, they learn it from watching their mommas and daddies. They watch how we, as parents, interact with each other and they often become little duplicates of what they see in the home.

If you’re the wife/mother of the home, then you had better have a deep respect for your husband if you ever expect your children to have any respect for you. That’s right, women — I think that it is our job to respect and honor our husbands. The clincher is that it’s important to respect your husband whether you think he deserves the respect or not. That’s right, if you don’t respect him as the head of your household, then your children will not respect him either. So when that day comes and he lays down a rule for your teenage son, don’t be surprised if that son pops back off to him (like he’s heard you do a hundred times) and then storms out with no fear of repercussions.

Women, we have to give respect to our husbands as the father and as a husband if we want our children to do the same.

Husbands, you’re not off the hook though. Just as it’s our responsibility to respect you, you must return respect and love for your wife as the woman of the household and the mother of the home. If you are short with your wife and disregard every piece of advice she gives out, then don’t be surprised when that teenage daughter starts to treat her the same way. If you treat your wife like she is an idiot, then your children will follow suite.

Show your family true love and respect and start with your spouse. Respect starts at the home and then it can spread to the classroom, the neighborhood, the church house and the work place.

So now we’ve squared away the importance of respecting the members of our families, but let’s talk about respect outside of the four walls of our house.

What about the fact that we should have an understanding of respect for anyone who is our elder? If someone is your elder in the community, there needs to be a level of respect toward that person. They deserve respect because of their age and because of their experiences. Don’t just take for granted that the older generation doesn’t understand what’s going on in the world today. They lived through all of this at one time, and they have stories and advice that can really help our generation and the generations behind us.

What I am about to say is going to really step on some toes in our community, but I feel that it needs to be said. Not only are the young people supposed to give respect to the older folks, but the older generation still needs to give respect to the younger ones also. You need to be respectful of those under you in order to gain respect. If I treat my little niece with complete disrespect all of the time, I am a fool to think that she will respect me when it comes down to it.

Older generation, you still have to give respect to those younger than yourselves. They aren’t total and complete morons — they have experiences too and although you may think they are wrong all of the time, you could still learn a thing or two from them as well.

Respect goes both ways. If you give respect, then you can expect to receive it. If you are disrespectful, then don’t expect others to respect you, no matter what your age or title may be. Give respect and be respectable and you will probably find yourself on the receiving end of respect as well.