Yesterday I hosted an annual summer BBQ for my sorority’s local alumnae chapter. It is only the second time, but it is a day of good food, laughter, conversations, and more laughter. What amazes me is the respect and companionship we find when we get together. A sorority does not make cookie cutter women. But it does help make smart, confidant, respectful women. Respect being the quality that just regular friendship does not reinforce. And something sorely lacking in our culture today.
What do I mean by respect? It’s not admiration for anyone or anything. You can be respectful without admiring or liking someone or an idea. There are numerous women in my sorority that I don’t necessarily like as a friend, but I respect them just the same. We have a bond that connects us. A greater good and that bond must start with respect.
Respect is acknowledging someone or an idea. That he or she, or an idea, is as relevant as you or your thoughts or ideas. Sure we all respect our friends. Friends most of the time are people we share similar ideas and beliefs with. But when you are in an organization like a sorority, not every woman is going to be your friend. Yet she will be your sister and thus deserves your respect.
Respect is understanding that no one holds all the answers. My point of view is no more or less important than someone else’s point of view. It is understanding that unless I have experienced everthing another has experienced, I cannot even begin to grasp their perceptions.
Respect can be given without receiving it in return. One can argue and try to convince or change the perception while still being respectful. This is how sorority woman treat their sisters when they may not agree. We argue, but we do it with respect. We do not belittle or ignite sensationalism.
As I get older, I am becoming more respectful, yet also more opinionated. Yes, one can be respectful while having a very strong opinion of something. But judging, condemning someone’s views or ideas, and lessening the importance of an individual or their situation is disrespectful. It sometimes is a fine line. But one I intend to continue to focus on and to always ask if I am being respectful when voicing my opinion. Am I making anyone feel less important? Am I belittling or treating someone in the way I would want to be treated? Respecting the world I live in. Respecting every nation, ethnicity, race and creed. Respecting that some ideas may conflict with my values, but if t does not effect me personally, I should respect that others have their own beliefs. Their values are not my values. But I expect the same treatment.
Respect. A word many of us need to spend some time reflecting upon.