R is for RESPECT
Respect is defined as: “gives a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., “I have great respect for her judgment”). It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect…” – Wikipedia
Respect seems to be missing from our world today, and it saddens me greatly to feel its absence. Why does it appear that children are not being taught to respect themselves and others? Perhaps it is simply because the only stories that receive media coverage are the negative ones, but perhaps it is realistically an area our society is failing in. In a world that seems to have an “Its All About Me” mentality, the majority of what we see is negative, selfish, condescending behavior that leads to bullying and mistreatment of many. Is this the legacy we want to leave our children? No, at least I hope not! Our wish is for ALL children to grow in love, hope, faith and positivity so that they value themselves and all the diverse facets of our world. We must first teach our children to respect themselves, celebrate their differences and be proud of whom they are. Then we must teach them to respect others and their differences, so that they may learn compassion, acceptance and tolerance for everyone in the world. In the words of Laurence Sterne: “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.”
The old adage tells us “You have to give respect, to get respect” and I believe that is true. So many stomp around demanding respect, but refuse to give it, sometimes even to themselves. Respect is not something you can demand, there are times it can be earned, but I feel it is a gift that once given will be returned many times over. There is much in this world that confuses, angers, saddens, frightens, dismays, etc…, but ours is not to judge. This is especially true in the Special Needs Community, because there are infinite possibilities in how to approach every differing ability in our world. We have not walked in another person’s shoes, and therefore cannot judge what they deem the best course of action for their Unique Angels. We may not agree with each other; however, we should respect each family’s right to choose the right path for THEM, and pray that they do the same for us. Having a child with special needs is challenging enough, why fill life with unnecessary conflict by judging others? In the end we are all just trying to do what is best for our children, while helping them achieve their God-given potential. We need to stop disrespecting each other and fighting amongst ourselves! How can we expect the world to love and accept our children and our families, if we in the Special Needs Community, cannot even show compassion, acceptance and support for each other? We need to find a way to look past our differences, respect each other and show the world that we are a force to be reckoned with. Only then can we start to build a legacy of Love, Hope, and Acceptance rooted in mutual Respect for our future generations. We must embrace all diversity and grow in love. In the words of John Gray: “When men and women are able to respect and accept their differences then love has a chance to blossom.”
Respect “Our Way” is defined as: “Thoughts, behaviors and actions that are the foundation of a serene life based in love and acceptance, which we give freely and pray to receive as well.”
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.