Respect is the acknowledgement of another person’s dignity through simple verbal and nonverbal actions. It’s the ability to reserve judgment and be honest with oneself and an adherence to value a different opinion. The recognition of a special quality is also a form of respect. Everyone has an innate desire to be respected, especially by those that are loved or admired.
One of the nicest things about respect is that it can be demonstrated in many different ways. Depending on the situation, respect can take different shapes and isn’t always a “one size fits all” approach. Words like, “thank you,” “I appreciate…,” “yes ma’am/sir, “ are the most basic verbal forms of showing respect. Holding a door, smiling, making eye contact and paying attention are easy non-verbal forms of showing respect.
But the biggest benefit of showing respect is earning it in return. To be respected feels great because, thankfully, for most people it feels good to respect one another. Paying respect adds value to a relationship. Good friends are valuable in large part because of the mutual respect that exists between the parties.
Whether respect manifests itself in the form of a high five, a simple smile or listening intently, it is contagious. It’s the duty of everyone to spread it to one another in order to foster a platform on which anyone can have a voice and know that at the very least, it will be respected.
Brent Lampl teaches middle school Spanish in Dallas, TX. He has been married for over 17 years and is the proud father of a son and daughter. Aside from family, he enjoys music, the outdoors and things with wheels.
Long, long ago when I was a mature student at St. Gregory’s, I took a six-week intensive “Math for Critical thinking” course with Bob Yarbrough. His very first assignment asked us to write an essay on what we thought math was and what its role was in society today. In my essay, I challenged him to show me how math was relevant for our everyday lives for non-math people. With much patience, and teaching skills he helped me pass the course with a ‘B’. At the end of the course, his final assignment redirected us to our first essay and he asked us to reflect on it and write how our opinion may have changed or may not have changed after completing the class. Needless to say, my opinion had changed and I could see how math, algebra included, did play a role in our lives every single day. We use it when we go shopping, when we are felling a tree, when deer hunting, when we are planning our household budgets or projects, and when we create art. We cannot escape the math skills we learned when we were young.
And so, it is with “Patience”!
When we were young, our parents, grandparents, teachers and elders would say things such as:
• “Patience is a Virtue.”
• “Just wait, good things come to those who wait.”
• “It will be ready soon enough and then you can taste it.”
• “Don’t be wishing away your years; you’ll be eighteen soon enough.”
• “You’re trying my patience.”
Sometimes we learned, such as when we stopped getting up at 5 a.m. to open our Christmas presents. As we became adults, we learned to be patient and wait in line, wait till payday, wait for a letter, wait for somebody to get off the phone so we could use it, wait until the traffic light had turned green or for the cars to pass so that we could cross the road safely. We also used our patience to find alternative things to do around the house until our grounding expired.
And then, along came the age of instant gratification and easy credit and ‘patience’ suffered. We no longer had to wait till we had enough money saved before we bought things for ourselves and our children or friends. Instant gratification can be good, but it can also be very dangerous, self-centered, self-destructive, and definitely not as rewarding as self-control and patience.
As an abstract artist, I have sometimes been very impatient and relied on my feelings to shape and design the art that I created. However, when I have experimented with new and different mediums I reached down within and backwards to retrieve the patience that was needed to learn the intricacies of each medium; whether it be encaustics, etching on copper or plastic plates, or ink-tense paints and pencils. This has allowed me to build new skills; and that boosts my self-esteem and makes me feel good about the art pieces that I chose to create and my progress as an artist.
This year has been a struggle for me and many others as we have dealt with the COVID virus, lockdowns, cancelled art shows, home-schooling, working from home, struggling economy, and an election that has yet to be finalized. We’ve all reached down within and brought back ‘Patience’ to help us to try and survive current times even though we probably all want to scream these phrases out loud:
• “I WANT THIS TO BE OVER NOW!”
•” I WANT MY NORMAL LIFE BACK!”
•” I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SOCIALIZE FREELY; WITHOUT A MASK.”
• “I WANT TO BE ABLE TO VISIT WITH MY FAMILY WITHOUT THE FEAR OF GIVING THEM COVID.”
Unfortunately, that isn’t quite possible yet. The virus is rampant and the vaccines aren’t yet approved or ready for distribution, but things are looking promising.
Therefore, I wait until another day and I wait with my bag of survival skills that include Math, Patience and Hope, because Hope is a helper for Patience.
Let Us All wait Together with Hope and Patience.
Douglas G Gordon is an artist who lives in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He says that he grew up in Scotland and Canada but he admits that men never really grow up and he says that he still finds fun in being childish at times. Douglas is married to Holly Gordon and is a parent to two well-behaved dogs and six noisy chickens. He loves to travel and meet people; especially artists and writers. You can find him on Facebook and Instagram.
Friendliness: a disposition to goodwill, warmth, kindness to others you love.
In my opinion, friendliness lives alongside the likes of kindness, open-mindedness, confidence, and trust.
But also, friendliness leads to beautiful things.
To be friendly, one must be kind.
To be friendly, one must have an open mind to all manner of possibility.
To be friendly, one must have a confidence that isn't also condescending.
To be friendly, one must trust others but more importantly, one must trust that they themselves are ENOUGH without always receiving the friendliness of others.
I've been alive for 47 years. In that time, I've seen and experienced the full spectrum that friendliness has to offer.
As a small child I saw it in my pre-school teacher, Mrs. O'Neal. You could be the weirdest little kid in the room...little kids ARE the weirdest and most honest humans alive, after all...and regardless, you would be met with such warmth and love. Acceptance. You were ok and she understood you.
Like Shawnee, Oklahoma's very own Mr. Rogers.
As a girl in school, in church, in life, I remember those who were always friendly, even if what they were saying wasn't something I wanted to hear. They did their best to raise me up with loving kindness and with a friendliness that I often didn't deserve. I wanted to grow into who they believed I could be. I'd give you a list of names if I thought you'd recognize them.
I also remember those who weren't friendly. I still feel the sting of their words as I look back. They only grew bitterness. I'd give you a list of their names too, but that wouldn't be very friendly.
As a teenager? Well. People were friendly.... and people were NOT.
Including yours truly.
As a wife and as a MOTHER, I see the faces of my family when I'm both friendly and grouchy, and while grouchiness can't always be avoided, friendliness is much preferred!
A tip to remember when your 16 year-old is losing their mind...like they all tend to do at some point...scan your brain and look back to that insane child's life as a 2 year-old, and miraculously, the patience and love that you felt all those years ago will flood back to your heart in spades allowing your friendly face to reappear...and your child to LIVE another day.
There are many more instances over the years that come to mind, but a favorite example of friendliness and the beauty it has brought to MY life is this one:
A few years ago, I began dressing my son's high school marching band. This included measuring and getting fully into the space of 350 kids, each an individual. As a vetted board member, I traveled as far as Washington DC with the band, having not only cared for and packed each student's uniform, shoes, socks, hat and gloves...which was the job...but I also packed anything else they might need on a trip like deodorant, tampons, band-aids, hair ties, water, tums, etc., so they were well taken care of...NOT the job. And because I had trudged through MY teenage years to become a kind, open-minded, confident, trusting and trustworthy, friendly adult (a fiery, poor man's Mrs. O'Neal, if you will), they knew they could always come to me...if they needed a larger size, to ask if I'd "PLEASE run across the street to Hobby Lobby for a tux shirt because I forgot mine again," to see I knew a good bathroom for them to do #2 and not be mortally embarrassed forever and ever, to confide in me that things were rough at home, that they were gay, that their boyfriend was pushing for sex...and I was so happy to do my very best for them every single time, even if all I did was listen.
It would have been so easy to just keep track of things and make sure that everything had buttons, but HAD that been the case, I'd have missed out on SO. MUCH. BEAUTY. And the mutual ABSOLUTE adoration of 350 precious kids.
I regret NOTHING and I'd do it again and again.
So. I encourage you. Go out there. Be kind. Have an open mind. Exude confidence. Trust people. Be trustworthy.
Go find YOUR beauty in friendliness.
This week's blog writer is Chelley Brewer Davison. She is a wife, a mother, and a professional beekeeper...with a wicked dose of ADHD, more love than she can contain and the occasional tendency to write about it all. You will find her blogs at chelleydavison.com or on her Facebook page Chelleyisms.
As a teacher we focus on the word understanding every working day. It is the goal we strive for in our profession. Understanding is defined as demonstrating comprehension, intelligence, discernment, empathy or the like: an understanding.
Teaching to mastery of a task or concept involves understanding. It also involves empathy on both the part of the learner and the teacher. Navigating day to day life during a pandemic has caused many people to question whether or not people understand the effects their actions have on others. I am guilty of listening to all the facts that come across my news feed every day. Numbers, symptoms, hotspots, masks, no masks, and social distancing, consume my morning news feeds. I crave information about the world around me, but I lack understanding because there are no hard and fast rules. When there are rules and outcomes that are consistent, understanding is easy. It is not easy now. There is no consistency. Things change by the hour.
I was finding myself really frustrated by images of young people gathering on beaches, in bars, and groups not protected by masks or social distance. Don't they understand? Even my nephew comes and goes from home without taking precautions to limit exposure. His parents are at risk. Every day my sister would tell him the facts. Each day when he comes home, he says "Don't worry mom, I am not sick..."
We have not mastered teaching understanding what it takes to stay safe around this virus. And we will continue to fail until we start asking what these young people understand. What do they comprehend? Life experience provides us with the ability to understand. Those of us who have lost loved ones have experience to guide us. We understand the pain involved in loss.
We are having to change the way we navigate through our days. Change is hard. Change is really hard, if there is not complete understanding. We will adjust. As a teacher, I will strive to understand my frustration. I will focus on listening to others and will be empathetic to what I perceive to be a lack of understanding. We all need to be gentle with each other as we strive to understand together.
This week's blog writer is Lynn Pollei. Lynn Pollei is an Art Educator at Pleasant Grove School in Shawnee Oklahoma. She graduated with a BA in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Prior to her work as a teacher she served as a Humane Educator. Lynn works to combine her passion for kids, animals and the arts to promote compassionate and creative growth in those she teaches.