Respect is Earned and Yes, That Includes Your Elders

May10th1994
Respect is Earned and Yes, That Includes Your Elders

I am sick and tired of hearing the line, "Respect your elders." Why? Well, because a lot of time - in my family anyhow - my elders are terrible people. They are homophobic, racist, sexist, and over-all selfish and hateful people that do not understand boundaries.

When I was little girl, I was so uncomfortable being around so many of my older family members, whether it was 40 year old uncles, or 70 year old aunts, and vice versa, even cousins who were only ten or fifteen years older than me made me uncomfortable. They would hug me without permission, touch me without permission (non-sexually), kiss my face without permission, and pull me to sit on their laps without asking me. As a child who had been sexually assaulted several times, when they did this, is was very difficult for me.

As a teenager, when I got the nerve to come out as bisexual, my family members would make homophobic jokes with no regards to my feelings, and how much that hurt me. Yet again, also hugging and touching me without my permission.

I was simply told, "They're your elders, be nice."

That's a load of bullshit.

Respect is Earned and Yes, That Includes Your Elders

As an adult, I've decided respect is 100% earned, no matter who it is.


I am not going to respect a hateful, self-absorbed, careless person, even if it's my own grandmother.
I will happily open doors for people, say "please and thank you." and have table manners, but I will not stand around and listen to my elders, or anyone spew hatred, and make me uncomfortable.

If standing up, and telling them how wrong, and hateful their opinions are makes me disrespectful than so be it. I will not respect people like that.

And one day if I have kids, I will teach them to stand up for themselves, and if they don't want to be hugged, or touched even by family members, they are allowed to decline. If a family member or anyone, says something that upsets them, hurts them, or other people, they are allowed to speak up about it.

"Respect your elders no matter what." oftentimes completely ignores mental and emotional abuse, and I am sick and tired of it.

Respect is Earned and Yes, That Includes Your Elders
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Most Helpful Guy

  • ProbablyTooMature
    I feel a certain level of respect is due most people until they give me reason to not. Then they get to work to regain it.
    Is this still revelant?
    • I don't see it as respect. It's more common courtsy. I will be kind to someone at a minimal level, and then build up to respect, unless like you said they give me a reason not to.

Most Helpful Girl

  • TokyoGhoulLover
    Preaaaach!! ^-^ I'm giving this a thumbs up
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • Miezko
    I don't think respect should be earned, I think it should be given freely. When people don't respect others really they're just disrespecting themselves.
    Also, I'd note that standing up for oneself isn't the same as being disrespectful. In fact not standing up for yourself is disrespecting yourself. But at the same time standing up for yourself, and disagreeing with others too, can be done in a respectful manner. It doesn't have to be an attack or involve derogatory remarks.
    • Miezko

      P. S. this is a good mytake. You make several strong points.

    • Kindness to me is given freely, respect is different from kindness. I'll give everyone common courtesy, but, my respect, is earned. Part of respect means accepting and respecting someone's personal beliefs. However, if their personal beliefs are hateful, and terrible, I'm not going to respect them.

    • Miezko

      I think respect goes beyond believes though. Like you can completely disagree with someone but still respect them as a human being. I don't know if that makes a ton sense, but it's I don't know, like a certain humanness that we all share. And that connects us in a way that personal believes and ideologies only divide. That probably doesn't make a ton of sense, but yea.

    • Show All
  • SnowHearth
    I was taught to consider everyone in the same level. you wanted respect you had to earn it. When I joined the military my superiors had to learn it the hard way.

    My grandmother has a saying "all humans are equal, anyone is a potential target... never treat anyone different, it will make it difficult get rid of them."
  • Aby_boy090
    I think respect should be given as charity, that simply shows your moral values.
  • lazermazer
    You are very right. But i often find elderly person more experienced and had very few elders who were bad. So i am grown to respect them but i can easily identify if he\her is good or not then i mold my behaviour accordingly.
  • lime_rampljuset
    Agree, you earn it.
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