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Author: toni

~ 09/15/09


I’m a complainer. I’ve bitched from way back. About all kinds of things. Global warming. People who dump their car ashtrays in parking spaces. Lax laws for guys who beat up on women.  That frikkin’ Geico commercial featuring the pile of money with googly eyes. (I HATE that thing!) The list goes on.

Know what one of my biggest complaints is? NO RESPECT.

That’s right. Nobody has any respect for anything anymore. At the risk of sounding like some old guy in a rocking chair on his porch, or Rodney Dangerfield… respect is going the way of the dinosaurs. Kids don’t have respect for their teachers. Young people don’t have respect for their elders. Workers don’t have respect for their superiors. And people in general don’t have respect for one another. Don’t believe me? Drive around in L.A. traffic for a day.

Okay. Maybe it’s not EVERYONE. But there’s a definite shift in the last couple of decades. A general lack of respect that permeates society.

I don’t mean respect in the way of kow-towing to someone because you’re afraid they’ll fire you. I mean genuine respect for those people who have earned it. You know, people who maybe have been around more than you. Who know more. Who have lived more life and been through hardships and achieved things that have EARNED them that respect. But none of that seems to matter anymore.

When did this erosion in respect happen and why? And is this the reason 5 year-olds call me by my first name? I mean, when I was a kid we NEVER called our parents’ friends by their first name. It was MRS. SMITH or MRS. WIEDERHOLD. I mean, it’s not that big of a deal. But might this be a sign of the bigger problem?

We typically learn about respect — from our parents, teachers, oh yeah, and ROLE MODELS.  You’ve heard of them. They’re people that you look up to, aspire to emulate. You probably had some as a kid. An astronaut maybe? An aviatrix? The guy who invented Pringles. (How DO they get those chips so perfectly stacked?)

So who are today’s role models? The ones I wouldn’t mind my kid being exposed to? Who might actually underscore what I’m trying to teach my kid at home? Oh they’re still out there. They’re just harder to find in the sea of boorish, entitled and spoiled behavior that seems to have become the norm.

I mean just this last week we have seen THREE prime examples of why respect is becoming extinct. Let’s look at them:

SERENA WILLIAMS’ tantrum at the U.S. Open. Threatening the line judge with a tirade of profanity that could be picked up by broadcasters’ mikes… because she didn’t like a call! Lovely sportsmanship to show all those budding athletes out there that look up to her. And she has no remorse for her actions. The issued “statement of apology” sounded like something a PR flack came up with.

KANYE WEST getting up and stealing the spotlight from TAYLOR SWIFT because he didn’t like the outcome of the voting. Whatever you thought about Taylor Swift’s video compared to Beyonce’s (and let’s face it, there’s no comparison. Beyonce’s ruled hands-down). But that’s no excuse for showing utter lack of respect for a talented young woman. And I don’t buy Kanye’s subsequent lame apologies on the internet and on Jay Leno as anything but his backpedaling in the face of backlash that could cost him a bundle in endorsements and record sales.

And then possibly the worst of all was REP. JOE WILSON of SOUTH CAROLINA who shouted “You lie!” during President Obama’s joint session speech on health care legislation. That is the ultimate in lack of respect. Even if someone doesn’t like the President himself or believe in his policies, the office itself is deserving of respect. For shame.

I’m telling you. No respect. It’s everywhere. In sports. In entertainment. In government.

Which is why it’s more important than EVER that we parents be the role models for our children to emulate. To show them the meaning of respect by our own actions. Let’s not count on sports figures or celebrities or congressmen because, frankly, we can’t.

Oh and the kids can keep calling me “Toni”. Frankly it makes me feel old to be called MRS. anything.

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