Defining Respect

Defining Respect

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"(What you want
Baby, I got
What you need
Do you know I got it?
All I'm askin'
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(just a little bit) mister (just a little bit) "
Lyrics from the song, "Respect" by Aretha Franklin

In three seperate dictionaries, respect is defined as a regard for or appreciation of the worth or value of someone or something. In my opinion, respect goes far beyond this definition. Respect is the cornerstone of the society in which we live. Although many look at respect as simply treating another person or thing with kindness, this word has many different aspects. For instance, I would not give an elder the same type of respect that I would give my peers or myself. Respect is not considered a neccessity in this world but, I can’t imagine a person getting very far in life without this virtue.

Self-respect is probably the most important value for a person. It is said that in order to earn the respect of others, a person needs to learn to treat oneself with respect. I think that self-respect has a lot to do with one’s self-esteem. Self-esteem is an opinion of one’s own worth. For example, a girl that sleeps around will probably earn the reputation of a slut or a tramp. In reality, she is coping with the stresses of a low self-esteem.

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Sleeping with a number of men gives her a feeling of being wanted and loved. In the long run, this will ruin her self-respect. I believe that a person’s self-respect will determine the amount of respect that they give and receive from others.
Having respect for one’s elders is a moral value that is learned at home. A child watches and almost always copies the ways of his or her parents and elder siblings. If a student is disrespectful to his or her teacher, it is a certainty that they disrespect their parents. I think that it is also a possibility that they receive this same disrespect from their parents. A child should be aware of the value of respect at a very young age. It is said that in 50% of cases, an abusive and abrupt parent will most likely produce an abusive and abrupt offspring. Teaching a child respect for their elders shapes the way that they will prosper and grow in all walks of life.

The amount of respect that a person gives their peers could shape the life and self-respect of another human being. I would define respecting your peers as treating them with equality. Children are so pressured these days to live up to a certain stereotype. The one’s that do not fit into a social class in or outside of school are considered outcast’s. Children are often very cruel in the way that they disrespect their peers. Was the masacre at Columbine High School a result of the way that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were being treated by their peers or was it something more psychological? I think that in a way it was both. The disrespect that they were given day in and day out could have lead to psychological problems. We are told by God to “Love One Another” and respecting our peers is the beginning of social equality and love.

In all walks of life, respect plays a huge role in getting ahead. As the saying goes, “You get what you give.” This is also true on issues of respect. If you show respect to others, they will in return, respect you. In all aspects, respect is a feeling of well-being and contentment.
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