Were you raised in a family where respect and consideration were practiced regularly? Or, was this not of great importance as each person might have stuck to themselves and stayed out of each others way? The latter is very common these days, especially with the dominance of electronics. It is becoming apparent that old family values and good morals in general are slipping away.
I might be over-reacting I suppose, but I even see it in my own house. I do my best to teach my kids the importance of being considerate and respecting others, but despite my efforts, I still often see a lack of it. Although it isn’t a huge problem, nonetheless, I am bothered by it. This leads me to wonder who else is too, or am I alone here?
What bothers me isn’t so much that my kids slip up sometimes, but, that I see this lack in public a lot, and often with adults. If adults aren’t considerate to others, how can we expect the next generations to pick up on this trait?
The important thing to understand here is that I’m not trying to be harsh with anyone or come across as being better than anyone. Instead, I realize that each person carries a great amount of value and deserves to be treated well. But, we are not each so important that we can’t show respect or consideration for others.
What does it mean to have respect and consideration?
The golden rule comes to mind: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Most of us don’t wish bad stuff upon ourselves. So, understand how you would like to be treated and apply that to others. This is the most basic form of respect and consideration I can think of.
It also means to do what we can to make other people’s lives easier. We all have seen or heard of the guy who sits on the couch watching tv and looks over to his wife and says, “hey, can you go get me a drink”? This is perfectly fine if you just suffered from an accident or operation, but, that should be the only reason.
Alternatively, one might say, “I’m going to get myself a drink, anyone need anything”? It’s these simple acts of kindness that are fading away. Our spouses and children are not worth less than us, so we shouldn’t treat them like such. Possibly even more importantly, we should offer friendly consideration and courtesy to complete strangers as well.
We must consider the type of world we want to live in and try to do our part to make it better. If, while driving in heavy traffic, we say, “it’s not that big of a deal if I don’t let that person into my lane; someone behind me surely will”, then we are in fact adding to a breakdown of consideration in society. It is true, someone behind will likely let them in, but in heavy traffic, what have you gained? You didn’t save much time or cover much distance by doing this. You would have been more likely to feel good about yourself had you have just waved them in.
How are others affected by this lack of respect and consideration?
If we feel good when we do a good deed for someone, imagine how they feel. I am sure that at some point someone has done something disrespectful, or inconsiderate to you. Can you look back and think about the effect that it had on you? Someone else’s actions can make or break your day.
I like to use the traffic example because it is so common to be out driving and minding your own business only to get cut off or honked at. The result could be a whole day stewing over the event and having other negative side effects throughout the day because your mood took a negative swing.
We can get so caught up in our daily lives and the pressures on us that sometimes we fail to think about how our actions could affect others. But it is necessary to note that if we are bothered by it, then others are likely bothered by it too.
What are some ways to show respect and consideration for others?
I’m not saying that we must put our lives on hold and go out performing good deeds across the globe. Rather, I am simply saying that if you and someone else arrive at the same door at the same time, try holding it open for them instead of racing to get through it first.
Also, we might have been taught as a child to have respect for our elders. This should still apply. Help them when we can; give up our seats to elderly, and even pregnant women for that matter. This is a simple lesson that we could be instilling in our children as often and early as possible. As for people in authority, police and others; we should give them respect too. It’s unfortunate that we hear of people abusing their authority, but this isn’t always the case. Many of them really do have a desire to make the world a better place and provide safety.
The nice thing about being considerate, is, it is free. A simple act of kindness towards someone else is something we have ample opportunity to participate in. Everywhere we look, there is a need that could be filled. If we keep our eyes open, we can often find something each day to express our consideration for others.
I understand that these are not easy topics to talk about. But, if nobody does, then how do we combat these imminent issues? This might not be an issue to everyone, but some people, maybe like myself, can be sensitive to certain behaviors.
It is apparent that we, as a whole, are developing a world attitude that is moving too much in the direction of self-fulfillment, self-indulgence, and self-gratification. It is good to take care of self, but, it shouldn’t be at the cost of someone else. Let’s instead, try to get a feeling of fulfillment from putting others first and helping them where we can. The result of this is a stronger community and more self-value. It’s a small step, but each person truly can make a difference.
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How to get your spouse to hear you, by Mort Fertel.