September 05, 2012 - Sometimes all signs point to one thing. Something. A thing you're 'sposed to do or say. And sometimes that something is to do not a gol-darned thing at all. Unfortunately for you all, this isn't one of those do-nothing times.
As it is many times with me, when the stars align themselves just right, it usually means I gotta' write. One thing. Something. And, now seems as good as a time as any.
I was sitting outside the other night with an old-timer -- just shooting the breeze -- and the old-timer, Dale says to me, "Sir, you should write an article about that." Well, I didn't correct him and say, "I write a column, which is different than an article. One is factual, the other can be, but is often just some numbskull's opinion."
I think it would've been disrespectful.
And, I am finding lots of things, folks, disrespectful these days. Hey, it is that special time in America when we get to listen to all the pundits and politicians talk about who should be our next president. That is never respectful. This year we even have the President getting into the disrespecting gig. I was a little stymied when I heard President Obama talking about the "other guy" running (Mitt Romney) and health care. It went something like this, "They talk about Obamacare, will all they have is Romneydon'tcare."
Name calling? Really, Mr. President?
President Eisenhower once said something like, "Never question another dude's motives. His wisdom, yes, but not the dude's motives."
How long has it been since politicians respected the citizenry?
It is disrespectful to blast your car stereo or your home system so all the world can hear it and especially when the songs you're listening to contain the queen mother of all swear words. Yet I hear it everyday, and so do all the five, six, seven and 90-year-olds unfortunate enough to be within eight city blocks of your subwoofers and speakers.
Some how, some where along the way we have come to a point in our society that whatever I want to do is okay. Some how we have come to the conclusion to think of others is a waste of our brain energy. Why bother. There's less and less empathy and compassion for others and maybe too much passion for what we want or believe. Why do we always have to be "right" and why do we need to make sure everybody knows we are?
When I was growing up and one of the Rush kids got into trouble and Dad found out, it was to the kitchen table we'd all go. Dad and kids, no matter who the perpetrator was, we all got to sit around the table.
Those joyous moments were fondly known as Lecture Time. And, at the end of Lecture Time some how the concept of respect wove its way into Dad's talks. He had an interesting way of making sure we grasped what he was talking about.
"Do you understand what I am talking about," he'd ask.
"Yes. Respect," I would answer (usually by then the younger siblings all would have been able to slip away quietly and it would be just Dad and I at the table).
"How do you spell it"
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking a quick thinking smart alec like me would sing back like Aretha Franklin, "R-e-s-p-e-c-t . . ." Uhm. No. That would have gone badly. I just spelled it, softly and well, respectfully.
We can and must respect ourselves and our own feelings, but, I believe we need to respect others and their feelings and situations, too. I ain't no saint, not by a long stretch. In the Church of Needing Absolution, brothers and sisters, I am a front-pew sinner. I suffer the sin of pride and am quick to anger.
It's funny. I learned of respect from my father, and now as a father I am learning respect from my sons (or despite them).
If there is only one thing I can do for that dynamic duo of Shamus and Sean Rush, is to show (teach) them respect. To respect themselves, their mother -- those around them and their differing opinions, even if they don't agree with other's notions.
I reckon there's an art to respectfully disagreeing, and unfortunately, as a look around life around me, I think it may be a dying art. That's today's lecture, folks. And if you don't like it, you can lump it and blame Dale, he put the idea in my head!
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org