Wednesday, June 22, 2016


When I was in grade school, I got sent to the principal's office for disagreeing with Ms. Schimmerhorn on multiple occasions. (Yes, that was her real name.) On one such occasion she was teaching us some backwoods-bubble-gum-version of the atrocities suffered by the Native American people. It was then that I decided that respecting elders was a bunch of crap fed to the youth to keep them in line. Either she was a liar or stupid, both I found completely unacceptable. Which started my long standing battle with the woman. 

On my first venture to the principal's office, I remember explaining that if the teacher wanted my respect she should teach the truth. 

I've since developed a much less intolerant concept of respect for those around me that I disagree with.

What it comes down to is that respect equates to valuing differences. In the case of Ms. Schimmerhorn (who I have a laundry list of grievances to share), I should have (should) valued (value) her ignorance. 

The question is how could (can) I do that and how could (can) I do that with less parenthesis?

I often talk about how a person must actively cultivate and nurture acceptance. I think valuing differences is a key role in that process. We live in a world full of unique individualism and perspectives. How much arrogance can a person have to not value what sets each of them apart? 

Even when we know another person is “wrong” or when we feel we need to “correct” a person, maybe we don’t. Perhaps there are times when we can stand back and say, “This person is different from me, they are coming from a different place, it is NOT vital that I bully them into MY way?”

Now, I am not perfect. I often share unmitigated information. I mean, this blog is packed full of me playing my ego-filled-boss-face-saxophone. Regardless, I think respect is an issue of being sensitive to others while letting go of that pesky ego.. 

Simply stated: If what you are doing or saying is affecting another person negatively. Stop. Show them respect and understand that respect is not simply “falling in line”, it is embracing the kaleidoscope that we call humanity. Bad teaching and all.

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