I don’t think I’ve ever written a post here that I didn’t have the title for first. But now I do.
When I started working at the International Mission Board in September of 1984–it was still the Foreign Mission Board then–my supervisor shared an interesting bit of information. He said that even though many of the staff had earned doctorates, no one was so important that I couldn’t address him by his first name.
That turned out to be accurate with few exceptions, and the choice to say “Dr. So-and-So” was mine. Not because I was intimidated into doing it, but because I felt an extra amount of respect for those people.
Respect is a funny thing. I’m going to share something that will surprise and perhaps shock you. It’s something I definitely wouldn’t have been stupid enough to do once I got a little older, and I still feel embarrassed at the memory of it.
Once while I was still teaching school–probably during my second or third year out of college–I was sitting in the guidance office (I always enjoyed talking to the guidance counselor) when the Superintendent of Schools came in. I had my feet up on a desk. Not a good thing to be caught doing by someone at the top of my food chain.
This fellow was someone I had absolutely no respect for. Not only didn’t he have the degrees you might expect someone in his position to have, he frequently used horrible grammar. “He don’t…she don’t.” Can you believe that?
So, did I do the smart thing and take my feet down? Nope. I didn’t feel I owed this guy that kind of respect. (I wasn’t thinking in terms of proper or improper.)
The older I get, the more I’ve come to recognize that everyone deserves my respect. Even people I don’t like or am usually at loggerheads with.
I’m not any better than anyone else. God loves everyone equally, and that has become the basis of my respect for all people.
My improved attitude about respect motivates me to show the janitors and security people at the mall the same interest and appreciation I show people I’m closer to.
I don’t expect to receive any additional jewels in my heavenly crown because of that. Why should I? I get my reward from knowing I may have been the only person to share a pleasant word with someone that day.
What about you? What is your basis for showing respect ? Do you pay attention to folks whose jobs are menial? Please leave a comment.
I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.
“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Check it out HERE if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.
My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, please check it out at Amazon.