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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Respect Matters.

My father had a saying from his Army days:  Even if you can't respect the man, you must respect the office he holds.

There are those who believe that respect can only be earned by passing tests or performing tasks -- otherwise they don't even have to acknowledge your existence.  Only if you pass their synthetic and artificial muster, can they consider you a colleague or a peer.

In some arenas, this is necessary -- the military, medicine, and customer service, to name some.  However, in families, it is cruel and abusive to judge family members by such artificial means.

Granted, we all have tasks to perform:  cleaning the floor, paying the bill, washing the clothes, and going to work, among others.  That's part of everyday life, but it's not all there is in everyday life.  If you judge your loved ones only by the tasks they perform, and not by the person they are, by their good characteristics, by their positive attributes, by the qualities about them that you respect, then you'll be found wanting.

Family cannot only be a task-oriented relationship.  You simply cannot reject those closest to you because they make mistakes, unless you yourself are incapable of making them.  And unless some of you out there are otherwordly beings who are truly superior to us mere mortals, you are just as capable of making mistakes as anyone else!  Therefore, you cannot judge, browbeat, upbraid, or belittle your loved ones when they screw up.

Don't get me wrong, there are times that people do need a kick in the behind -- if they get convicted of serious crimes, if they squander all their money, if they neglect their children.  But THAT'S IT.  You don't rip someone a new anal orifice because they forgot one item on the shopping list.  You don't question their true IQ if they make a wrong turn while driving.  You also don't wish them out of your life merely because they committed an erroneous act that can be corrected at no cost or effort.  If you do feel the aching, pulsating, uncontrollable need to criticize, hector, and condemn someone, have the good grace to proportion your criticism to the level of the error in question, and not make it worse.

Don't forget, ha ha, to comment.