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09/04/2019

Why is respect important?

QUESTION
Why is respect important?
I acted out a little in school. The teacher didn’t call home or anything, but she wrote “Sometimes disrespectful” on my report card and now my parents are having a hissy fit. They are making me write an essay as to what respect is, who deserves it and why it’s important. I found everything but the why. I don’t want crap about the world would be a sad place without it. I need detailed WHY.

ANSWER
The why of respect is because of what it does (its function).

Respect keeps us mindful and makes us remember to show proper appreciation toward others and toward things.

In the case of those in authority in our life respect keeps us mindful that they are in the position they are for our benefit (to help us). Respect thus moves us to cooperate with their effort to help us by carefully listening to them and considering what they have to say or to ask of us.

Those in authority generally see one who resists listening to them or cooperating with them as disrespectful. However, refusing to cooperate with an authority figure is not really disrespect if you have given them fair hearing and are basing your refusal upon sound moral/ethical issues that violate your conscience. It should be noted though that any such refusal should be done with a calm and respectful attitude for the position they occupy. And unless it is a serious conscience matter good will ought to be displayed by showing a willingness to explore the matter further with them if necessary.

Scoffing at a teacher’s right to request you to do the things necessary for the sake of keeping his or her classroom free of hindrances to teaching and learning is an example of extreme disrespect for their authority.

I want to add something else for you to ponder:

There are two types of respect. There is respect that is owed by reason of sound principle. And there is respect that is earned.

It is important to learn the difference between the two. By principle we owe respect to the position a teacher or authority figure occupies. Joe down the street who has no real authority given him over us must earn our respect.

Principle says that for the sake of everyone society must have a means to maintain peace and orderliness. It is from out of that we owe respect to those who are appointed authority over us. It is from out of that principle that we owe respect to our parents, also. Without such means to maintain peace and order chaos would reign and all would be made to suffer.

Additional Note: That society needs to appoint authority figures for the sake of peace and order presents a bit of a dilemma. Respect is impossible to demand. When we demand respect what we receive is not respect but compulsory compliance. Therefore in authority situations the authority figure has the heavy burden upon his or her shoulders to command (to demonstrate the worthiness of receiving) respect rather than to demand it. That is not an easy job and it is why your cooperation with them is all the more important. By appreciating what they have been placed in their position to do and working with them instead of against them you make their job easier and more pleasant for them.

If those who maintain our society’s peace and order gave up where would we be? Don’t let yourself be part of the cause of them to becoming frustrated and giving up. Your respectful cooperation helps keep our society’s systems functioning efficiently for all our benefit.

Here is something for you to do a report on that will impress your teachers. People are often found to be concerned that the USA is going to everything become a police state. Given that government cannot simply throw up its hands and quit, if most of those they try to govern peacefully fail to show respect and dis-allow themselves to be governed peacefully, who has really brought about the police state? The government or the people who resist being governed?

Every time a person shows disrespect by breaking the law what is he promoting? A peaceful free government or a police state?