“Show respect for all men, but grovel to none.” – Tecumseh
Over the past few days I’ve been thinking about that simple two syllable word; Respect. Although I was so tempted to write in some other directions, I realised it is one critical aspect that is important but taken with so much laxity. Now (draws seat), I would really like to briefly share my opinion…
As a typical yoruba man, I know the look on the face of an elder whenever a young boy passes him by, as if the boy is not aware that someone’s there (you know the deliberate I-don’t-know-you-from-Adam…even-Eve expressions).
I know how it feels when you call someone Segun (as if you attended his christening or once changed his diaper) even though you know he’s much older than you, and as such, deserves to at least have a ‘Brother’ before the Segun (again, as a yoruba…not as a foreigner).
Picture a pastor with the white collar around his neck, and imagine how he’ll feel if he gets the greatest beating of his life in an attempt to settle a dispute or fight (no offence, just an example). I bet it’s not a good feeling. No doubt, the three parties would feel hurt.
The Oxford advanced learner dictionary defines respect as the polite behaviour towards or care for somebody or something that you think is important. Respect simply means showing esteem or honour for someone or something. It involves acknowledging and showing regards to someone/something of certain qualities, or considered important/superior in some ways. Thus, an elder is superior to a young boy by virtue of age; a pastor is superior by way of his status as a leader.
Practically everyone hates to be insulted, but then I wonder why we disrespect others and feel it’s nothing. It marvels me when people crave for so much respect without actually willing to give the respect that is due unto others (I have no idea where they left reciprocity).
The fact remains that respect is reciprocal (even 9ice sang it). Take the cases of the pastor and the old one above. It is expected of the latter to respect the former even though she/he is old enough to be his grandparent. The onus is also on the pastor to respect the older party. Simple! Same goes in all walk of life.
Nowadays, we have no respect for one another. We only treat ourselves without regards and pretend it’s nothing. There might be a ton of reasons for this (I really don’t know), but I’m certain of one; PRIDE.
“There’s no respect for others without humility in one’s self.” – Henri Frederic Amiel
The moment the mind is full of pride and bloated with so much oodles of ego, the vacancy for respect cease to exist. Have you noticed that proud people enjoy being respected but find it condescending to respect others? (If you hiss or Mtttcheeww-ed I’ll understand).
I can actually understand why some rich individuals are proud and therefore have no respect whatsoever (at least they’re better financially, not enough justification though). I can’t—and I’m sure I won’t—just get why some “not-so-rich” people still venture into the same trade (business failure of life!). Perhaps we don’t understand some basic things. Please be patient and read further.
“When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us.” – American Indian Proverb
I recall a few post-NYSC orientation camp activities (please click here and here) which had given me a closer view of people’s reactions when they are sincerely respected (not out of fear). The simple summary is that respect for someone can make the person respond favourably in return. It can automatically get you graces and take you places you ordinarily wouldn’t have access to. Now, who doesn’t want that?
Respecting someone doesn’t make us less of a person. It doesn’t bring down one’s station. I believe that’s actually the idea in the yoruba proverb that says that “To prostrate for a dwarf doesn’t make you short when you stand.” (except juju…or black magic is involved). We all know what’s right, abide by this principle and you’re good to go.
Well, I’m good to go.
Be social. Comment and share.
Adewoyin Joseph || @Jossef69