Saturday, August 20, 2011

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

  Hello Neighbor;

  I just saw a clip that Mr. Roger's Neighborhood was going to come back on the air in a pupped/cartoon format.  I thought that was, if I may use Scottie's term, Grand.  In my college courses, he actually came up a few times as a real pioneer in teaching through modeling.  Ever since watching him as a small child, I've learned best by watching someone do something and then trying the same thing myself...especially if I could get them to repeat it a few times.  So, hat's off to Fred.

  I recently went through some family troubles.  Yep, happens.  A wonderful and insightful friend showed me that I was being very concerned about what everyone else was going through and forgetting about that man in the mirror.  His words have been resonating with me ever since, to the point of having me unable to sleep a day later for the reverberating waves in my mind. 
  In searching this out, I found many cartoons and stylized phrases that spoke about respect for others, and even respect for oneself, but rarely do we hear about how we must sometimes stick up for ourselves.  We most often hear about being considerate and kind to others, to their belongings and their beliefs,... that sort of thing.  And, how quickly do we slide away from self concern as a position akin to selfishness.  And yet, our gift of life, liberty and even peace and happiness are only going to be protected by us, by each for his own.  The government can't give us self-respect.  Our religion can't.  Our family can't.  Really, it is a journey of self acceptance and discovery.  It is a learning process in which only we can be the teacher as well as the student.  We can be guided, taught a bit, even model it from someone like our lovable Fred Rogers, but in the end, only we - - only I can respect myself.
  And, sometimes, in order to respect myself, I must insist on being treated in a certain manner, a respectful manner.  And, as hard as it may be to require this, if someone isn't willing to respect me, then they are really unhealthy for me, aren't they?
  Is it so wrong that we should expect respect?  As a person, as a people group, we must not only know what we believe in and are willing to stand for, but also that we do not become other's doormat. 
  It's going to take some time.  I wasn't taught a great deal of self-respect growing up, instead having it drummed into my head how I needed to show respect for others instead.  So I need to learn this now, as an adult full of poor ways of doing things .....and this is going to take time.  But, it certainly feels right.

What is a man worth?

video
Be warned...a sad and difficult vid.


  A shocking video, for sure.  And, in some minds are the words of hate ringing out.... perhaps saying that he shouldn't have been caught but otherwise congratulating the actions, and perhaps others rallying for the death penalty for this incomprehensible crime.  I am lost as to how someone could be so callous as to find it a lark to do such a thing.  It's beyond my mind. 
  The interesting thing about this story, at least in the context for this essay, is that the people involved saw not only this man but all considered "black" as lesser beings.  They were not fully persons, not real people, and so it was ok to do this.  Did this method of thinking just appear one day?  Remember, according to the vid, there were a fairly large number of people involved in this, and all young people.  So I ask again; where did this belief system originate?
  In our sordid past, we have had all too many instances of seeing some group of people as lesser beings, as lesser persons and worthy targets.  And, in some laughable and horrid nightmare, someone will say how these teens came from such "Christian" homes with no concept of the incredulity of that statement.  So, again I must ask:  Where did these young men and women find this set of ideals as worthy?
  We can point fingers, rage and rant, and in the end the true criminals of this epic are left at home angry and hurt that their little boys, their neighbors are going to prison.  This was more than one boy going out on a nut, this was more than one psycho..... this was the result of a culture of hate and of believing that some are greater than others.  Until we come to the point where we do not see ourselves as only good because someone else is bad, only worthy of life and liberty, happiness even, because someone else is not worthy, only then will this type of destruction come to an end.