Brenda’s Blog – March 7, 2023
“The difference is that they respect us.”
You would probably guess a long while but before identifying the source of that comment. It was a State Jail speaking of the guards. The incarcerated young man had much experience with correction institutions.
Currently serving in a private, corporately owned facility the remark came when asked to give advice for new guards. “Too many of them lean on their power, their toughness, and their spitefulness. They can be effective without dehumanizing and demeaning. The difference in this place is that the guards treat us like human beings, not animals. I guess, the bottom line would be… they respect us.”
Aretha Franklin famously made respect a part of the American vernacular, spelling it out letter by letter.
Theologians tell us we are created in the image of God. We are not a random gathering of molecules, but a purposeful creation worthy of dignity and respect. It isn’t always easy to see this in everyone, but when we do we can change lives.
Have you ever eaten in a restaurant and not even looked into the face of the server? In needing something we are asked, “Who is your server?” Not able to answer that we fail the second question, “What do they look like?” Practicing respect can begin in the smallest encounters.
You surely have been in a line of frustrated travelers waiting for news on a cancelled or delayed flight, right? Is it a peaceful, respectful place? Absolutely not! The airline employee with no ability whatsoever to change the circumstances bears the brunt of angry, often abusive customers. What a difference you could make in that person’s day (week, month, year…) if your response is respect, civility. Controlling our attitude under stress is an early step in expressing respect.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T is the recognition of another’s value and acting on it.