R-E-S-P-E-C-T does it still mean the same thing to me?



LETS SHAKE ON IT: Hadi Syed and Angel Batista-Quezada shake hands to show respect for each other.

Veronica Diaz, Author

Recently I’ve noticed that people aren’t really showing respect as much as they used to. Respect is something that can be shown anywhere and everywhere to anyone.

I wanted to write this article because I see and hear a lot of disrespectful things happening in and out of school. I think respect is something that we should always try to show in every circumstance. I do understand that bad days do happen and we can slip up sometimes but we should always at least try to be as respectful to everyone as possible.

What is respect?

Some people see respect in different ways. The definition of respect coming from Oxford Languages is, “A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” 

However, some people have a different definition of respect. Esoola Akomolafe, and 8th grader at WMS gave me her definition of respect saying, “Well respect just means in a normal environment it’s just treating someone with common decency and, you know, not being mean.”

Demonstrating respect

Sometimes you can show respect for a person without actively having respect for them. But can you tell the difference? “I guess showing respect is kind of more doing it when someone’s watching. So if someone looks at you then they see that you’re showing respect to someone and that will hopefully make them act in the same way. But I feel like having respect for someone is just the act of how I’m interacting with you. Like I’m going to show the person respect but I’m directly with them. Sore of the showing is other people around are watching,” Ms. Nardoza, a 6th and 7th grade science teacher stated.

Should respect be earned or given on default? Most people I interviewed said that it should be given by default. Mrs. Douglas, cheer coach and 8th grade language arts teacher, said, “I would like to say respect should be earned, but I believe that I am somebody that gives respect on default.” What do you think? Are you someone who feels like respect should be earned or do you give respect no matter the situation?

You probably respect a lot of people in your life even if you don’t really think about it. 7th grade student, Ashlynn Lynch said that she respects her cheer coaches because they “treat [her] as an individual” and not just another person on their team.

I got another response from 8th grader Hadi Syed. He said, “I respect my mother and my father because they gave birth to me. They’re the reason I’m here. And if I disrespect them I’m basically ungrateful.”

Where does disrespect come from?

I’m sure everyone has done something disrespectful at least once in their lives. “With my siblings a lot I get disrespectful. I remember one time my brother came into my room and every time my brother came into my room I automatically turned my head around and told him to leave. I remember he came into my room to give me candy and I told him to leave. So he shut the door and he left and then, I saw him eating candy in the other room,” Syed stated.

A lot of the time if someone is disrespectful to you, it’s probably coming from outside circumstances. Ms Nardoza said, “I mean any time I’ve been disrespectful I feel like it has always been caused because of something like I come into school and I’m angry about something that happened at home and then I come here and I’m angry.” She described it as a kind of “domino effect.”

Do you think Covid has anything to do with it?  There is a theory that after the pandemic people had a hard time re-acclimating to their public lives. Mrs. Douglas stated, “I do, unfortunately, I do. I see a lot of students being disrespectful to one another, I see teachers being disrespectful to each other sometimes. And is that a product of covid? Perhaps. But I do wish that we could bring respect back into the schools.”

What can we do?

All we can really do is try our best to show respect whenever we can. As stated before, sometimes people can have bad days and that can sometimes affect whether we show respect or not. Ms. Nardoza said that we should just “band together” and teach the students that being disrespectful is not okay.