I cannot use the word RESPECT without the iconic Aretha Franklin song popping into my head. If I am alone, I will sing and do some fist pumping which always makes me laugh out loud. A spark of happiness strikes and then the moment passes.
During these troubled times for our families and nation, I would like to see the word RESPECT practiced more as a vibrant verb than an inert noun.
The act of giving and demonstrating RESPECT to all people, even those we disagree with sometimes vehemently, will bring more peace and stability into our lives and homes.
I was eleven years old when it became obvious to me that I must have been adopted because the parents I lived with held values, political and religious beliefs that I, even as a young girl, felt uncomfortable with.
In 1977, I left at 16 to run away to college without looking back. I embraced feminism and the free-wheeling college life as it was back then. I moved on to law school, married, had a family and built a career.
Over time, I realized that the fissure between my parents and I had eroded our ability to care about and communicate with each other. The divisive bitterness and alienation we lived with was awful and was compounded because nothing was ever said just buried deeper and deeper over time.
Decades passed before my parents and I had mellowed into a begrudging alliance. Over the years as I struggled in my own life and faced the challenges of raising my children, they became more human to me rather than foes. I was able to look back and sympathize with their stories and struggles which I could not appreciate or empathize with in my youth.
Today, as our communities and country face bitter nasty divides over many issues and the upcoming election, I am doing my best to treat the “others” with the empathy and respect I learned through striving to reach my parents.
It is not easy. The chasm is deep, wide and seething.
Nevertheless, I still believe showing RESPECT and probably some restraint will let us heal.
Please join me.