Radical Respect

1 10 2010

We come from varied backgrounds, all ages, and diverse races. We may be going through our own personal struggles, or experiencing  our own joys. One thing is for sure – we have very different opinions, beliefs, philosophies, and religious views. But each contact – each relationship – each opinion – can be a positive influence in our lives if we will look past the words, habits, or ideas that we disagree with and continue to listen to each other. We gain priceless insight when we put ourselves “in the other person’s skin” for a few minutes and truly hear what they have to say.

Are we brave enough to sit and really listen even when someone challenges our very core beliefs? Do we dismiss the person and turn them off because we think they have nothing valid to say? If a classmate is of a different religion, generation, sexual preference, or race are we able to glean what is good and positive and useful from their experiences? Even a racist, a convicted felon, or a dirty homeless person deserves our respect because they have human value whether we see it or not. Look beyond what jumps out at you, what offends you, or the crudeness of their speech, and you may find out where they’ve been and how they have survived it.

Our situations may not be so extreme, but it is still important to remember to stop and really hear one another – to give each other at least that much respect.

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