Respect should begin at home


Lorna Marquardt, Leader Columnist

Here is a Native American Indian legend, a story about respect.

There once was a man who was raising his young son. The mother had passed away in childbirth and he was teaching his son all that he knew. This son grew up and in time wanted to go to a nearby village and find himself a companion. Many months passed and the young man returned to his home, and with him he had a woman, his wife. They lived in the home of his father.

Shortly after, they had a son, and the father, now a grandfather, began teaching this young boy all that he knew. How to respect the forest, the animals and life. The mother, tired of sharing the home with the old man, told her husband she wanted the old man out.

The father spoke, “I cannot, this is his home and he built it for us.”

She spoke, “If you do not make him leave, then I will take our son and I will leave.”

The father agreed and spoke to his son. “My son, tomorrow I want you to take Grandpa out and leave him. Give him this blanket.”

The young boy cried, “Why do you do this? Grandpa has been teaching me all that I know. Why do I have to do this to him?”

The father spoke, “Son, follow the wishes of your father.”

So, the next morning the father went hunting to the north. The son took Grandpa as far as he could walk to the south.

That evening, the young boy was sitting on the bed crying when his father came in. He saw the blanket on the bed. “Son, I thought I told you to give Grandpa the blanket?” The boy said, “I gave Grandpa half of the blanket. The other half I will give to you some day.”

The mother and father understood the message, and they went and brought Grandpa back.

What is respect? It is a big concept to grasp. A definition of respect includes how you feel about someone and how you treat him or her. You can have respect for others, and you can have respect for yourself.

To put it simply, showing respect for others means treating them with courtesy; it is thinking and acting in a positive way that shows you care about their feelings and their well-being.

There are a variety of ways and places to show respect. Respect in the workplace includes consideration for other’s privacy, their physical space and belongings, and respect for different viewpoints, abilities, beliefs and personality.

Showing disrespect at work includes eating someone else’s lunch or other food items, making fun of a co-worker’s appearance or disclosing something told in confidence. People who are respectful do not “suck up” to the boss, as most bosses do not appreciate employees believing they are that naive.

A lack of workplace respect also includes loud phone conversations, showing up late for work or meetings, scheduling excessive personal appointments during work hours, taking credit for someone else’s work, telling offensive jokes or stories, and gossiping.

The workplace is a reflection of society at large. Today, we see a variety of behaviors that demonstrate a lack of respect and civility, both inside and outside the workplace. Recent studies indicate Americans view incivility as a serious problem that is getting worse. One study found that 60 percent of employees believe that co-workers’ annoying behavior negatively affect the workplace, and, as a result, 40 percent reported they are looking for new employment.

I guess all we have to do is turn on television to witness the disrespect our political leaders have for one another. I am not giving fault to any specific individual/individuals, but politics in general. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

I believe respect needs to be taught in the home. If I had talked to my parents like some youth do, I would have had to sit on a powder puff. Adults were to be called Mr. or Mrs. unless they said we could use their first name. It was not permissible to interrupt others while they were speaking. We were taught to speak when spoken to. Getting in trouble at school was not an option. Foul language was not allowed at our house. All through school, my parents paid attention to my clothing; no short skirts or suggestive clothes. My parents were strict, and, at times, I felt resentful. Looking back, I am grateful they cared enough to teach me how to respect myself and others.

Answer to last week’s question: The Shawano Chamber of Commerce was organized April 2, 1926. Its first office was located above Stan & Bud’s (currently Bubba’s).

This week’s question: In what year was a nine-hole golf course established at Shalagoco (Shawano Lake Golf Course)?

Lorna Marquardt is a former mayor of Shawano.