Tag Archives: respect


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.


Filed under Blogging, Writing

Respect the Books

This picture reminds me of my junior high school library. It was the domain of old Mrs. McFadden with the sturdy orthopedic shoes, and no way would it ever cross your mind to disobey her SILENCE AT ALL TIMES and RESPECT THE BOOKS rules. One tiny whisper and her disapproving glare alone could make your blood run cold. That’s when I learned a very important lesson. Always make friends with the librarian. You could get away with a lot if she thought you were on her side, and she’d even give you first dibs on the new books that came in. To this day, the smell of a new book still wraps me in a comfy cocoon.

But those days of quiet libraries are long gone. I tried a few visits this past summer, taking my laptop with me for a few hours of undisturbed writing time. Bad decision. Aside from the unbelievable noise level, I was periodically interrupted by people asking if I could help them navigate the public computers. I guess I looked like I knew what I was doing. When I suggested that they ask for assistance from the library staff, they said they were told it wasn’t the staff’s job to do that. I glanced over at the check-out desk to see several “librarians” chatting and laughing together. Not working. Not helping. Not anything. These were not the kind of librarians I wanted to make friends with. And I won’t even go into the lack of respect for the books by librarians and patrons alike. Back in the day when everything was still in black and white (some of my grandchildren think color had not been invented yet – I mean, look at all the photos from those days if you want proof), we were taught to treat books with care and respect. Books are friends, our teachers said. They hold within their pages the stories of countless lives. I still have books from my childhood that look like new even though they have been read over and over.

As a bookstore owner, I can confidently say that very few people have any respect whatsoever – for books, or anything else. They come into my store and rummage around as if it’s perfectly fine to bend covers, break spines, fold pages and jam the book into a space where it doesn’t fit. But if they want to buy a book that is in less than pristine condition, they ask for an additional discount because it doesn’t look new. Yup, it’s true. I see the same behavior in the local bookstores. No more hushed reverence. No careful handling of those wonderful tomes.

It makes me sad.

And I long for the black and white days.

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Life, Writing