Wednesday, August 11, 2021



I am indeed finding out what it means to me.

I was taught as a child to respect my elders.

I was taught as a child to honor my mother and father.

I was taught as a child to honor and to respect all authority figures.

I am finding out as a late-season adult how little I was taught about what that really meant.

Respect as a concept has very little power. Being told to respect my elders, my mother and my father, and all authority figures does not take into consideration the factor that often times those very same people behave in ways that are not respectable.

I was not taught as a child that respect has to be earned.

As much as I sometimes resist the notion, I am now an elder. I am in a vocation that places me in a position of some authority. I will never be a parent, yet vocationally there are people who think of me as “father.” None of those factors in any way entitles me to respect. The only way for me to be respected is for me to live respectably. To engage in respectful activities and to treat others in respectable ways.

And I most certainly need to develop beyond concept a sense of respect for myself.

I was not taught that as a child either.

In an age of social media, it is easy to see a multitude of examples of disrespect every single day. People post disrespectfully and other people react disrespectfully. It goes far beyond elders, parents, or authority figures. We seem to have lost a sense of what it means to treat others with respect and dignity simply because they are fellow human beings. Now let me be clear; I see and hear things everyday that I do not respect. I am increasingly mindful of this, especially via choices that are being made during a time of global pandemic. I am learning that even having been reared with a sense that I should respect I have never given respect a great deal of consideration. I have not really seen through that lens. I have not stopped to ask myself who and what I respect, or even if I am concerned whether or not people respect me.

And now I do.


I am finding out what it means to me.

This deeper discovery is mostly happening via the direct experience of what I do not respect.

There are people that I deeply care about that have and are engaging in behaviors and choices that I simply do not respect. You can, of course, perceive that as you will. I am deeply grateful for the awareness as it is showing me that respect is a personal value that I was not really in touch with. In a number of cases there have been previously indiscernible dissonances about people that I could not clearly identify. Something was somehow off. I knew I guess that there was a backstory behind the words and the professed veneer. I just could not quite bring it into focus. In many cases I did not want to.

And now in an age of social media happening during a context of Covid I am gaining clarity about what the backstories have been.

Now I am left to dance between attitudes and behaviors that I do not respect, and how I can develop a caring and compassionate relationship that allows me to meet what I do not respect in respectable ways. How I can continue to care about people that in some ways I have lost respect for.

I am finding out that it ain’t easy, kids.

Much of this for me is directly related to what I view as a common responsibility to our shared humanity. I am observing choices that seem to me to be selfish and self-serving. I am finding that I have enormous respect for people who make choices based not only on personal preference, gain, and interest. Choices that are made for the greater good inspire and move me. It reaffirms how much I want to make those kinds of choices. I want to live and to contribute to a world that is not only about me. I have learned how gratifying it is to live and to serve beyond what I think I want to do. Those choices are what form a foundation from which I can live in self-respect, whether or not anyone else acknowledges or respects me for them.

When the Covid lockdown began I sat, and I had a real and deep conversation with myself. It was prayerful. It was determined. It was honest and yet it was accepting. I did not want to go through this experience without becoming more. I did not want to waste time or to deaden or distract myself. I wanted to use the time of distancing to deepen. To become clearer about what I truly am and why I am on this planet at this time. I wanted to contribute to the greater good of life. I devoted myself to challenging every personal preference, asking whether or not it was self-serving or Source amplifying.

I have not shown up perfectly during this time. Far from it. And having said that I am growing clearer about one thing that truly means the world to me.

I respect how I have spent this time.

I continue to dance with the awareness I have gleaned regarding people I thought I knew and clearly did not. Or maybe it is just that that I have now seen aspects of people that I did not know were there. I rumble with other choices that I simply do not respect. I grapple with the distinctions between attitudes, behaviors, choices, and the depth of who people really are. Most of you know me well enough to know that I will not pink paint over what I have learned. I will personally acknowledge that I have and am watching choices that I simply do not respect. I have learned things that I frankly wish I did not know. And I am determined to honor and to respect and to dignify people beyond what I may view as unconscious choices. If I do not, I will not be able to maintain respect for how I choose to relate. I have learned that respect is in fact an important value for me. And I have also learned that dehumanizing others is not.

I am learning how much I want to live a respectable life. I am leaning that self-respect and respect for others is inextricably connected. I am even learning that I cannot ultimately be disrespected when I am maintaining a sense of self-respect. That is gold, my friends. Pure gold.


A great song. A soon to be released movie about a woman I still have enormous respect for. And beyond those things there is an invaluable lesson I am so grateful to learn.


I am finally finding out what it means to me.