by Cindy Rowan, Partner, The Roundtable Group

I don’t have a gender, political affiliation, or race.  However, I have been around for a really, really long time and the quality of my life is getting compromised every day.  I am fearful that soon, I may become extinct.

I’ve been introduced to little ones by their parents for thousands of years.  Usually, the first introduction is “Please,” “Thank you,”  “May I?” As those little ones grow older, they learn more about me from their family, teachers, and maybe even at church …something like “wait your turn, be nice, let everyone join in, treat others as you’d like to be treated” and so on.  Too quickly, comes the realization that we aren’t all alike for a variety of reasons.  Sadly, how that often plays out is “me vs. you; us vs. them.”  Recognition of difference is healthy until I’m put aside and it becomes “you’re useless because you don’t look like me, act like me, agree with me.” Labeling and name calling usually follows and from there, it gets worse.   Not long ago most people would have thought about my importance before they spoke or acted. Now, I feel like I’m an afterthought and only mentioned when someone reacts badly to something they don’t like.  There is this growing display of unfiltered words, actions, and even inaction.  This often perpetuates hate, division, and demeaning behavior.  All of this is just not me.

Many want to point a finger as to who’s to blame for my rapid demise, but does that really make it better?  Actually, it probably makes it worse. Does it really matter how we got here?  What’s more important is how we can bring me back to the forefront of all we say and do.  Maybe it’s time for each person to step back, take a deep breath, and think about the consequences of just letting me die a painful death.   The symptoms of my demise are tension, hate, inability to express opinions, lack of cooperation, strained relationships, stagnation of new or better ways of doing things; even assault. The list goes on and on.

I am RESPECT.  It doesn’t matter what gender, political affiliation, race, age, status, or any other characteristics define you. I am the equal opportunity attribute that makes our world a place where considerate conduct, healthy conflict, collaborative interactions, and care for each other is so greatly needed.  I am needed equally by everyone now more than ever and I have a few ideas that might help get us all to a better place:

– Seek to become aware of other people’s differences and understand where

  they’re coming from. Maybe go first to what you have in common instead of what’s

  so different.

– Take a second to STOP and just consider what you want to say or do.

  Will your words or action make the situation any better?

  How would that make you feel it you were on the receiving end?

–  Use those words and behaviors you learned at a young age: “Please, Thank

   you, May I,” wait your turn, include others, be nice, treat others as

   you’d like to be treated.   This is not just for kids.

–  What if you’re the recipient of disrespect? Kindly let the other person know how

   their words or actions make  you feel.  That’s called “behavioral  accountability.”

   Right, wrong, or indifferent; your feelings are real to you!  Also, it’s probably wise to

   check and be sure you have correctly interpreted what the sender intended so as to

   avoid any possible misunderstanding. 

There’s so much at stake by me being forgotten day after day.  What will you commit to do to make me, RESPECT, the focal point of your interactions with others?

One person changing at a time can get us all to a better place in this crazy world.

For more information about respect, please contact The Roundtable Group today at

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