Liberty Ledger

Respect is More Than Just a Word

Delving into the true meaning of the word respect

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Mr. Hall discusses story planning for the Ledger magazine with co-editor-in-chief of the magazine junior Olivia Holler.

Mr. Hall discusses story planning for the Ledger magazine with co-editor-in-chief of the magazine junior Olivia Holler.

LHS Publications

LHS Publications

Mr. Hall discusses story planning for the Ledger magazine with co-editor-in-chief of the magazine junior Olivia Holler.

Alisha Grant, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook

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When I was a sophomore, I wrote a story in the Ledger newspaper about respecting teachers. I looked back on it recently and laughed because I was so salty in the story, but I’m guilty of many of the things I accused my peers of doing.

What is respect? I tried to answer that question then, but I’m not sure my answer was sufficient. If you type respect into the Google search bar the answer it gives is that respect is “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”. But that doesn’t really fit my idea of respect either. I feel like there are different levels of respect that don’t fit under one blanket definition.

The first level of respect is similar to my definition from my first story. “Respect to me is showing a certain level of decency to everyone, whether or not you think they deserve it.” There is a basic respect that I feel applies to all people. You shouldn’t be rude to people you don’t know. That seems obvious, but as a society we are rude to strangers quite often. Employees are rude to customers, customers are rude to employees. We honk at people on the road. We roll our eyes at our classmates and teachers. We don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives so we can’t assume that we have the right to act however we want towards them. A store employee could be having a bad day because they just lost a loved one and they are distracted. The person that cut you off on the road might be late to work because their child was sick that morning. The kid that sits next to you in class that you think is just being “extra” all the time could be having problems at home. We can never fully comprehend the complex situations of those around us, so you are better off just treating everyone with a certain amount of decency.

The second level of respect is based on trust. This kind of respect is reserved for people you’ve gotten to know. This respect is for people who have shown you that there is reciprocity in your relationship. This is the respect you have for your friends and family. It is the respect that comes from experience. This is also the kind of respect that applies to teachers. As you come to class everyday, you learn more about your teacher and your teacher learns more about you. The relationship between a teacher and a student relies upon give and take. There is a certain respect that must exist between those who are being taught and those who teach so that both parties benefit. If the student doesn’t respect the teacher, then they will never learn from them and if the teacher doesn’t respect the student, they will never know how to teach the student effectively. There is a trust between teachers and students that what the teacher is teaching is true and that the student does their best to learn what is being taught. Without the respect I have for my teachers, I don’t feel I would have learned as much as I have from them. One of my teachers that I respect is Mr. Webster. When I was in his class, he told us what he wanted from us and expected us to do it to the best of our abilities. I would be lying if I said I never griped or complained about the work he gave us, but he did his best to prepare us for the AP test as a new teacher to Liberty and I respect the effort he put into preparing class for us each day.

The third level of respect is for those we respect for their “abilities, qualities, or achievements” as the internet said. This is the respect we have for famous actors, athletes, politicians, writers and singers. The respect you have for the kids on the basketball team or the kids in the musical. This respect is for those that have done something admirable. This is the respect we have for someone we look up to. Your role model could be your mom, your favorite singer, your teacher or it could be a person famous for overcoming a disability or illness. It could be a celebrity who speaks out about something you believe in or a student who has made a difference in your school. We as a society do a pretty good job of showing respect to those we admire, though with that admiration comes a lot of hate. We need to remember that people mistakes, even famous people, and there is no need to bag on someone for making mistakes when every decision they make is public. I’m sure most of us can remember a time when we made a mistake that we wouldn’t want the whole world to get to be judge, jury, and executioner for.

Matters of respect are all around us while we are in high school. Respect for teachers, respect for coaches, respect for club sponsors, respect for directors, respect for the custodial staff, respect for the principals and office staff and respect for classmates. Make sure to give those around you the respect they deserve. The only way Liberty can be a safe environment for everyone is if we start to treat each other with more respect and decency. So next time you feel like saying something in poor taste, don’t. And next time you see someone that needs help, step up and be there to help them. The golden rule is to treat others the way you want to be treated. So if you want those around you to respect you, than you need to respect them back.

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Respect is More Than Just a Word