Friday, April 27, 2012


Kids Bowing for Respect
By Eileen Lindner, red belt

Respect is one of the tenets of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo.  Respect is also an important quality or character aspect in all areas of life.  Miriam-Webster online defines respect as a noun as: an act of giving particular attention; high or special regard; the quality or state of being esteemed.

Personally, I see respect as a measure of courtesy, an everyday behavior that is hard to quantify because it is in everything one should do.  We respect teachers and parents, we respect the laws: both civil and natural.  Respect for speed limits – or paying close attention to them - illustrates both: I respect the speed limit for both personal safety – an accident can be a natural result of reckless driving – and for the example it sets with other drivers around – civil responsibility.  I also respect speed limits to avoid paying a ticket – which embodies both personal and civic consequences.

I respect those older than I because they have more experience and maybe more knowledge; I respect those younger because of their excitement and hunger for knowledge and experience.  I show that respect in my work, since my supervisor is a little older than I am; but those I serve are much younger. I hold them both in high regard and admire them. I am respectful of their opinions, their ideas and suggestions; but am responsible for what is ultimately decided.

I want to be respected for what I know, what I do, and who I am.  Some believe that respect must be earned to be valid.  I understand that it is easier to respect someone who behaves in such a way to deserve it; but I also believe that it is necessary to respect even those who don't act in a respectful manner.  Perhaps it is even more important to act respectfully toward those who may not “deserve” it.  To lead by example often promotes the most growth.  I often struggle to show respect, instead of sarcasm, to those individuals; but when I am able to pay attention to them, to hold them and their ideas in a careful manner, they respond with surprise, as if waiting for the sarcasm; but then with mutual respect, courtesy and sometimes change their behavior to be an example to others regarding kindness and respect.  Often adults think they need to earn the respect of teens; but what is really needed is to accept everyone for who they are and spend time learning from them as much as teaching them.  Respect means no personal agenda – just act in the best interests of all.

The poem, “Respect – The Key to Life,” by Dave Chief, is a beautiful representation of a world where respect is constantly considered; where self-control and understanding can lead to “balance & harmony.”

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