R-E-S-P-E-C-T: What it means to me
Everyone seeks respect.
Managers and heads of companies try to earn the respect of their employees so that they will work hard for them. In sports, athletes need to earn the respect of their teammates in order for the team to gel together and play well.
However, as you may have noticed, teenagers these days have little respect for anything.
The first thing that many teens don't respect is their country. Everyday before school begins at Menomonee Falls High, the principal recites the Pledge of Allegiance. As there is a flag in each classroom, students are expected to stand to show the proper respect for their country's flag.
My homeroom and two other homerooms are in the cafeteria -- a total of about 60 students. When the pledge is being recited, only about 10 teens, including me, stand. This is absolutely ridiculous. Our country has had hundreds upon hundreds of thousands die in many wars to give us the privilege to live in freedom. The least we can do is to stand and give the flag the respect that it deserves. Once in my homeroom, we had a substitute teacher who was an old war veteran. He was appalled at the fact that less than five kids stood for the pledge.
Another aspect is how little respect teens give authority figures. In school, I regularly see students talk back or make snide comments right to their teacher's face. A teacher will ask for something to be done, and the student will either ignore them or say something incredibly rude. This type of behavior problem also extends towards parental authority. A girl I know says she can't stand her mom telling her what to do and what time to be home. That's incredible! Teens, if you live in your parents' household, you have to obey their rules. You live in THEIR house.
Another problem with teens and respect is how little teens respect their peers. If a person is not part of their group, it's almost certain that they will be ridiculed or have their faults pointed out -- often quite nastily. Even among friends, teens constantly go back and forth with name-calling and jabs at the psyche of their friends.
Some teens also show very little respect for themselves. For fun, and at some parties, teens do drugs and use alcohol. Are their lives really all that boring? Both of these activities take teens "out of their minds," making them high and drunk. Not only is it illegal for teens to drink and use drugs, but it's dangerous as well. You can get caught by your parents, the police, or get in an accident that could kill you. These things also trash your body. You can have an equal or greater amount of fun without any of those things. Some might say teens have been rebelling and using drugs and such since the '60s and '70s (or before), but that still doesn't make it right.
Now, I am not immune to fault in this area. Ask my parents, and they will tell you all the problems that I have including some of the aforementioned items.
So where does this lack of respect stem from? One possible root could be from adults themselves. I umpire for my town's Little League, and as an umpire I will, at times, make a bad call. All umpires occasionally blow a close call. However, parents and coaches will go ballistic at a bad call (and sometimes at a good one that doesn't go their way. -ed.) and will continue to throw sarcastic or menacing remarks toward the umpire the rest of the game. Some parents go far enough that the umpire is forced to kick them out of the game. What type of example is this for the kids? It's okay to yell and scream at someone in authority over a close call? It's Little League, where the goal is to have fun and allow the kids to play baseball.
We as teens have to realize that as soon as we hit college or our first big job (or any job for that matter) we have to respect and follow the rules, check our attitudes at the door and do exactly as we're instructed. The boss won't take any disrespect or laziness. We, the teens of today, will hold most of the jobs in the next 10 to 15 years. We need to seek respect for our country, our authority and peers, and for ourselves or who knows what our nation will end up like.
This article posses an important issue and I know when I was a kid, I challenged authority and experimented with drugs etc. but it was to feel free and figure things out for myself. These days its trendy to not care about things and be disrespectful. I think kids feel if they are nice it makes them look wimpy. Put-downs and other negative humor are respected instead of intelligence. Teens are caught up with being tough and being fearless and not allowing themselves to express patriotism and things like this. Alot of this does stem from our fast-paced society and parents simply not having the time to guide and instill morals and ethics in children at a young age. Teachers and parents do need to be stronger and not tolerate bad behavior. Maybe we should consider adding ethics to school curriculum at a younger age so that these young kids can see the importance and benefits of respect.
GlamGirl | June 5, 2007 at 11:21 a.m. (report)
Great editorial. I couldn't agree more! I only wish my teen would respect me. I miss the kid I used to know, and it stinks that we can't be close anymore. I'm disappointed to hear that kids aren't getting up to respect the flag. Don't the teachers do anything about it? How much power do teachers have in school anymore? When I was a kid, we all feared them. We thought they held the power of life and death like our parents! Now kids don't seem to fear anybody. I'd love to hear your opinions on flex-cuffs and discipline in school.
Wow, David, I'm impressed. You hit the nail on the head on everything, including the responsibility of the parents. I wish there were more like you - I would hire you in a heartbeat!
good article. Those "troubled" teens do need to straighten themselves out when they enter the workforce or college. There is life after high school, despite what television may lead you to believe.
5 comments about this article.
Post a comment / write a review.
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.