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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Learning to Teach While Teaching: Respect

Good day fine folks –

Today we continue to move forward in our Learning to Teach While Teaching Series:

Today’s Topic: Respect

I don’t really think I need to break out into Aretha Franklin’s all time number one smash single “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” for everyone to be able to understand at least in part how important respect is… I mean geez, if there’s a song written about it I’m guessing it must be pretty important. Motown greatness aside, today I want to really examine what respect is all about…and more importantly what respect isn’t.

The dictionary definition of respect is:


to avoid violation; held high or with special regard; the quality or state of being appreciated

Let’s break the definition down by segment and further examine how we (coaches, parents and student-athletes alike) show respect to each other. I think we’ll all be interested to see how it all shakes out.

Okay, let’s see… “to avoid violation” - Wow…seriously?!? So, if I violate someone by speaking ill or back stabbing do I truly have respect for them? What if I circulate rumors and filth in order to gain some sort of favor for myself? I am showing respect? Hmmm…this isn’t quite adding up. Mom always said: “one plus one ain’t three, baby.” I’m getting the picture.

Let’s look at the second definition segment: “held high or with special regard” – I’m guessing that since this is a verb, there’s more to it than just saying I respect someone… I actually have to show it right? How should I go about it? Is there a formula for respecting someone? Man, this is really enlightening…

 The last segment simply says: “the quality or state of being appreciated.” The last time I checked if someone was appreciated they were not only told, but were shown in action and in deed. I think what’s most disturbing is that our actions and deeds are polar opposites in most cases. I can look at you… smile at you… invade your personal space and yet I have no regard for you whatsoever… unbelievable. As my students say… “that’s totally creepy.”

We’ve all heard the saying: “respect isn’t given its earned.” That’s an interesting concept because based on the 14th century definition I don’t think the person who came up with that saying really understood what it meant. Sounds to me like the basic definition of respect is just to treat people well. You know, the “Golden Rule?” Anyone remember that from Sunday school? Some would argue that the second and third segments of the definition are what have to be earned – “special regard and appreciation”. I would then argue the mere fact that you’re a human being qualifies you for those. I don’t think anyone wants to be violated or unappreciated… that goes without saying – or at least I thought it did.


Why do young people show so little respect to “elders” today? Why don’t young people respect teachers? Why aren’t parents more respectful of teachers who, in essence, spend more time with their children than they do? Why don’t teachers and administrator respect each other? Why don’t coaches respect student-athletes for who they are? Why do teachers have a chip on their shoulders? Why do busy-bodies need so much drama? Why do we dislike the person who is happy? Why does negativity sell? Why does one person feel the need to control another? Why is power so important? Why do jealousy and envy exist? Why is retaliation always the answer? Why is there always an excuse? Why is this list of questions infinitely long?

I don’t know either…

In a nutshell this is my opinion… like it or not – agree or not as I've always said you can always create your own blog. Respect is something you give and until that other person gives you a specific reason to do otherwise you continue to show respect. In treating others with respect we inevitably respect ourselves… if I don’t have respect for myself then how is it possible for me to respect someone else…? Instead of reciting “respect isn’t given it’s earned” maybe we should say, respect is given, but common sense is learned.

I sure hope “the community” is listening…

1 comment:

  1. I listened to the podcast of the Ask Oscar radio broadcast that you did with the mom/athlete/coach, and I was considering her story of her son communicating with the administration and coaching staff following his experience of being left behind at a sporting event. I think this plays into your post on RESPECT, because this young man's parents taught him to have respect for himself. Rather than the entitlement that you discussed in a previous blog, this student/athlete was taught to value himself. It was not about the outcome, but about the importance of taking a stand for what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior. I think when an individual knows how to have self-respect, he or she is better equipped to respect others. It is interesting the difference between self-respect and entitlement; entitlement leads one to be disrespectful to others in the quest for self-satisfaction. Self-respect leads to respect for others, or as you referenced, to living out the Golden Rule.

    I love the food for thought your blogs and radio show are providing. Thank you!!!