Start the New Year out respectfully:
1. Be intentional about letting others know you value them.
2. Act respectfully. Respect is something done as opposed to possessed.
3. Be attentive. Respect begins with listening well, not planning what you’ll say next.
4. Surprise people with your politeness. It might be contagious.
5. Breathe. Exercise patience and calm in tense situations.
6. Confront biases. Recognize and eliminate biases that inhibit your ability to give respect.
7. Model respect for the children in your life by how you treat others—the salesclerk, the person who cuts you off in traffic. Kids are watching (and listening to) you.
8. Introduce children (and yourself) to different people, experiences. Watch for ways to broaden their worldview.
9. Practice respect and reverence for all creatures and creation.
10. Lead with grace. Forgive often, speak and show love abundantly.
Respect. Aretha Franklin sang about it. Rodney Dangerfield joked about it. Americans lament the lack of it.
We feel slighted when we get cut off on the freeway. We bemoan the impoliteness of a failed “please” or “thank you.” We’re disheartened when people are mistreated for being different.
Our leaders even fail to model the virtues of respect—witness TV news shows that turn into shrill shouting matches between advocates who have little interest in seeing the humanity in those with whom they disagree.
Our lamentations may become even more visceral when a cell phone disrupts the solemnity of Sunday worship.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers