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Lesson Fifteen — What About Respect

One thing that we all want in life is to be respected.We also want to be liked.If you bought your friends pizza for lunch every day, you would be liked, and probably poor, but not necessarily respected.I’m sure you know people that you “like” but do not necessarily “respect”.On the other hand, you probably know people that you do not especially like, but respect.An example of this might be a teacher in school who makes you raise your hand instead of calling out, and insists on having your homework turned in on time.You may not like that teacher, but you respect her because she is consistent.She makes the rules and sticks to them, and she does not play favorites.You may not like her, but you have to respect her.

We all want to be respected.To me, that means people will not make fun of me for the way I look or talk, or how I dress.When I have something to say, I want them to listen and consider what I say.I want them to take me seriously.They may not agree with what I have to say, but I don’t have to agree with them either.

Other people want to be respected, also.Like everything else in life, the way to get something is to give something.The way you get respect is to give respect.Most people accept this to be true, but they miss one extremely important part.They believe that if you want Bill or Judy to respect you, all you have to do is to respect and be nice to Bill and Judy.What most people do not understand, however, is that you also have to respect Melissa, and Tucker, and Sam and Amy.In other words, you can not pick and choose the ones you are going to respect, and in turn expect that they will respect you.You have to respect everybody, whether you like him or her or not.If you try to pick and choose, you will not be truly respected by any.

Take my friend Toby, for example.He was a fairly popular kid, at least for a while.He was one of the gang but he had a problem.Toby’s problem was that he really wanted to be liked.And he thought that the way he could get his “friends” to like him was by entertaining them and at the same time show how tough he was.He liked to entertain the gang by making fun of some fairly unfortunate people.

In fact, he made fun of all the unfortunate people, young and old.The more the gang laughed, the worse he got.Toby was well liked for a while, but he certainly was never respected.Eventually, he wasn’t part of the gang anymore.He was relentless and there was not much more to him.The gang was tired of the same old insults and gags.In fact, he ultimately ended up as a long-term guest at the state correctional facility.


The same was true of Tim in college.Tim was great fun and fairly popular, however, Tim was just plain mean to some people, particularly girls.There were some guys that thought this was the funniest thing ever, and liked hanging out with Tim because he was entertaining.I remember overhearing Tim tell one unlucky girl very late at night at the fraternity house that her friends had already left, and that he would give her a ride home.The fact was, he had told her friends just a few minutes earlier that she didn’t need a ride because she wanted to stay and wanted Tim to drive her home later.Tim didn’t even have a car!This is just one example of how he showed no respect for people.How could I or anyone else ever like or have any respect for someone like Tim?

I think you get the point.Everybody is fairly nice to his or her friends, and everybody shows some level of respect for their friends.However, that is not enough.In order to be truly liked and respected, you have to show a basic level of respect for all people, no matter who they are, and without regard to whether you like them or not.Avoid saying mean things about everyone.Think of something nice to say about everyone.If you want to be genuinely well liked and treated with respect, this is just something you will have to get used to.