"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

R-E-S-P-E-C-T


"Find out what it means to me!"
Now that I've put the song in your head....

My dad likes to joke, "You're entitled to your own opinion, even if you're wrong."  But he's only half joking.  He generally says it when he's talking about something that he has very strong opinions about.  And I think it's good to have strong opinions.  It's good to own your beliefs, and your convictions, and your ideals. 

And while being open-minded is a good, and admirable thing, shouldn't we all be so sure of our inner truth, and where we stand on an issue, that we feel we're "right"?  And I don't mean that in a confrontational "my way or the highway" fashion.  Not at all.  In fact, I think when we're really sure of something, deep down in our hearts, we don't feel the need to argue the point at all.   Why would anyone want to argue when they're truly at peace?  When what they think, feel, and say are in alignment?

I've been thinking a lot about the word 'respect' lately, and how loosely we use it in regards to other people's opinions.

With all due respect...
I respectfully disagree...
While I respect your opinion...

What does it even mean?   I feel like it's just become something we say, something we feel we're supposed to say, without stopping to think about whether we even mean it.  I get insincerely "respected" a lot, especially lately.  People will tell me that they respect people who unschool, but.... and then will proceed to tell me all the reasons why they don't, in fact, respect it at all. 

And that's ok.  They don't have to respect it. 

Here are a couple of definitions for respect, per dictionary.com:

1. A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem.
2. The state of being regarded with honor or esteem.
3. Willingness to show consideration or appreciation.
If we fundamentally disagree with something, are we really going to feel appreciative about it?  Or regard it with honor or esteem or deferential regard?  

We should love one another, yes.
We should treat one another kindly, yes.
We should act in a respectful manner, yes.

But if we're being honest... truly being honest... I don't think we really feel as many respects as we throw around.  I think in many cases, it's just become a word, another thing we're supposed to say to be politically correct.   

I think it's entirely possible to disagree and still respect someone's opinion, but I don't think it's a given.  And I cannot say it if I don't feel it.  I can't. 

These are easy for me to say, because I feel them:

I choose to stay home with my kids, but I respect moms who choose to work outside the home.
I have a strong faith in God, but I respect other religions.
I am happily married to a man, but I respect same-sex relationships.

But there are other issues, particularly dealing with some of the choices people make as parents, that I just can't respect.  I can't.  I can't respect them, and I respect myself enough not to say that I do when I don't.  I was going to list them, but you know what they are.  If you know me, or read my blog, you know.  And you may make think that makes me judgmental or intolerant (and I respect that.  ha.) , but I think it just makes me honest. 

You can feel free to disagree.  You're entitled to your opinion.  Even if you're wrong. :)







3 comments:

JoAnn said...

Yes!

hsmom23 said...

Usually when I use the phrase, "with all due respect," I am not referring to the other's opinion but rather to the person. Most people are generally good and kind and do try to do their best as parents. We all have our bad days, and I would hate for anyone to see me on mine. There have been many times that I have to ask my kids for forgiveness for my acting like a 2 year old brat! It seems to me especially in homeschooling circles that judgements and arguments over styles stem from insecurity. Everyone wants that reassurance that they are doing things right, and they try to get it by putting others who differ down.

Please forgive the long comment. This really struck a chord with me tonight. I really enjoy your blog. :)

jen said...

I agree about the negative comments stemming from insecurity. And I too ask for my kids' forgiveness often.

Don't apologize for long comments... Glad you're here! :-)

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