I’ve been reading some old books lately. Really old. Like, written a hundred years ago old.
To be sure, the stories are simple. No ridiculously complex plot twists or page-turning action. No global espionage or unbelievable mysteries. Just beautifully written literature.
What caught my attention more than the flawless writing was the manner in which the characters spoke to and treated one another. There was respect. Men opened doors for women and helped them in and out of their seats. People addressed each other as Mr., Mrs., Miss. Children never called grownups by their first names. Those in positions of authority were regarded with esteem, even when they didn’t deserve it.
That’s how my parents were raised and that’s how they raised me. We, in turn, did our best to instill the same in our children.
But the world has lost something here. Something significant.
Respect is gone.
We’ve entered into an era of rights and equality and fairness, all of which are good and need to be embraced. But we’ve thrown out the baby with the bath water. In our attempts to be equal and fair and to exercise our rights, we’ve lost the ability to respect each other.
I am appalled at the lack of respect I see in schools, businesses, organizations, and public places. I cringe when I hear how parents and children speak to each other. I am shocked at how elderly people are pushed and shoved and laughed at. And there’s no longer any such thing as submitting to someone in authority. These are not exceptions, folks. This is the norm.
It’s even happening in churches. Especially churches. The very place where reverence and respect should be an example to a lost and dying world.
Go ahead and think I’m old-fashioned when I consider it disrespectful for kids to call me by my first name. Or when I remind my grandsons that they must always open doors for females and allow them to go through first, even if the female is their sister or their mother or their aunt. Or when I address my pastor as Pastor Morris, simply because he holds a position of authority and should be honored as such.
There is much of the old-fashioned we can learn from.
Think about it.