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What Happened to Respect?

“Man Accused of Firing at Sheriff’s Deputy”

This was the headline on the front page of my local newspaper. A patrolling Deputy, fulfilling his duty to “protect and serve” was trying to stop a 19-year-old “man” in his car on a city street. The gunman stepped out of his car with a rifle and shot at the Deputy’s vehicle 15 times. The Deputy survived the ordeal and the gunman later was taken into custody.

Events like this raise questions in our minds: What has happened to respect in this “technologically advanced society” we live in? What, if any, good principles and values do these people have?

Being raised on a Northern Montana farm, I was taught sound principles and values. Life was respected and valued, no matter how large or small. Daily lessons of caring for the animals and caring for each other instilled this valuable quality of respect and honor for life.

Daily, we cared for the farm animal’s needs of food, shelter, and cleaning. When it was time to butcher our chickens and prepare them for the freezer, we were taught to show respect for life during the process.

Our parents were bringing us up to honor and respect, first ourselves and then the lives of those around us. Sadly, some have not had the privilege of learning this.
When I was little my parents would take my brother and I to the funerals and memorials of friends and neighbors in our small community. We didn’t like to go; however we were taught that the proper thing to do was to “pay our respects” to the deceased and to the family. Unfortunately, many young ones in our society are not taught this important lesson.

Headlines like the one in our small community newspaper bring this jarring reality to our attention. Like many of the valuable lessons I learned on the farm, showing respect for the living and the dead has earned me the respect of friends and family. As you know, respect cannot be demanded or claimed as a right. Respect has to be learned and respect to be earned. Respect makes us better people and contributes to a peaceful, happy life.

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