I watched in horror as a young teen with long hair and a trench coat in the middle of July walked out to the car his mom was driving and said “You stupid cow….get out of my way before I slap you.” Before I knew what I was doing his head was under my arm in a full blown choke hold. I know….I probably should have gone to jail. However, I was fearing for this mom’s safety. So, I said “hey punk, I will take you down right here and now”. He and his mom began to beg me to let him go. I did as they asked and he started to mouth off to me….I just looked him in the eye and said. “son, you don’t want to go there with me.” Oh…and they were members of my church. I knew what sacrifices she made for him. She was a single mom. The dad was long gone. The kid and I became friends and I did some mentoring with him. It’s all good.
See, I was raised in a different culture. I was raised to respect my mother no matter what. I raised my sons that way. I told them all their lives that they were to remember always she was my girlfriend and my wife long before she was their mother. I told them that they would treat her with respect or I would treat them like any other man who tried to disrespect her. They got it. No talking back to your mom. No shouting. I have never raised my voice to my wife in 53 years of marriage. I will not tolerate anyone else doing it either. You don’t want that consequence.
To see what is happening in our country today makes me heartsick. But it didn’t happen over night. It has been an evolution of disrespect. I can’t tell exactly what the starting point was. Maybe it was when we decided that corporal punishment in school was no longer acceptable. Maybe it was when we decided that prayer in school was no longer allowed. Maybe it was when the parents stopped being the back bone of the school system and hoped the teacher would “teach them how to be adults”. Maybe it was when children became more athletes than kids. Maybe ……..But the tipping point of any revolution, is when the older generation no longer teaches the next one.
I just had the privilege of meeting Irving Roth. He is a survivor of Auschwitz death camp. I immediately got his book and could not put it down. One of the things in his writings hit me hard. He had been raised in a strict Jewish tradition. The Jews in Europe before WWII were hard core. The observed every tradition religiously. No slacking.
But Irving Roth said that when he was released from that horrible place and made his way back to his little village, so much had changed with the Jews. Less than 1% of Jews over 45 years old survived the war. Less than 10% of Jews under 14 had survived. Very few women with small children survived. He states that the old traditions had been lost in the death camps. They could not observe them and they became less and less important. He said, “those older Jews did not push the teens and early twenty year olds because they had endured so much and they were afraid they would lose them again”. So……the new generation of Jews lost much of their tradition.
I watch with sad eyes as kids no longer seem to have a moral compass. I cannot tell you the horror stories of things I have dealt with. I can say I fear for my grandkids. Far too often children are not taught the idea of commitment to anything or any one. Sadly, a huge percentage of children are in blended families with no moral compass. It brings about the loss of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
We just lost the Queen of Soul. Aretha. What a talent. She was known for her song….R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I read the lyrics today. They are so simple they are almost insulting. But in the song, she is saying she will pay any price just please….give me some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. That’s all. Just a little bit….
I don’t know that it’s so bad to have your ball cap on in church. And I KNOW that we can have major debates over dress codes and lack there of. My mother always said. “Son, the ministry is the greatest profession you can enter…dress like it”. When my dad would be called out at 3 am, he would put on a suit and tie and look as though he had not been in bed. It was the family’s idea of respect for the ministry. I don’t care what you wear. But.. You will almost always see me in a suit and tie in the pulpit. I just can’t get away from my “raisin”.
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. is more than rules. It’s all about attitude. No. we don’t yell at our moms without getting our face slapped. I hope you don’t allow that. No. We don’t take the seats when ladies are present. That is rude. No. We don’t assume everyone is beneath us. That is ignorance. Yes. We do stand for the pledge and the anthem. it’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T for the dead and injured. Yes. We honor the house of the Lord.
So, I encourage you to take a self examination of where you fall in the areas of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Facebook is filled with disrespect constantly. Don’t get dragged into to that. We generally get the R.E.S.P.E.C.T we earn. Let that sink in.
So my friends, I R.E.S.P.E.C.T.fully leave you for now. Be good to each other. It comes back.