What Happened to Respect? By Jerry O”Meara


I thought I would stay home and enjoy watching a golf tournament on a recent rainy day. Unfortunately, the tournament also experienced bad weather and play was suspended.

I chose to watch the news. This was not a good idea. I watched in dismay as a McDonald’s employee was beaten for making a mistake on a customer’s order. I then saw a student throw a chair at a teacher. Next, I heard something about “Porch Pirates” stealing packages. At this point, I turned off my television feeling quite disheartened. I asked myself: “What happened to respect”?

When I was a 26-year-old hotel manager most of my employees were older than me, yet I was addressed as Mr. O’Meara, and I returned their respect.

I am disappointed that those days of respect are for the most part gone from business, education, family, and American society in general.

In the 60s and 70s, individuals in positions of authority were highly esteemed and respected. I suppose President Nixon’s Impeachment had much to do with the initial erosion of respect for politicians, not to mention the Vietnam War.

We all have opinions on the reasons for the decline of respect in our country. So, I will not offer mine.  

My parents and teachers taught me respect, and sometimes with harsh discipline since I was a rebellious youngster.

Lesson learned and now frequently with a heavenward glance I will say: “Thank you, Mom and Dad”.

Respecting my parents, teachers, supervisors, police officers, and the elderly was the right thing to do. And it still is.

I have come to understand that when we disregard values, morals, and history, we lose sight of our guiding principles and the lessons of the past.  I also believe that most people understand this basic truth.

Today, I take solace in the fact that most people show me respect. I am shown respect at the gym, grocery store, church, etc. and I happily return it.

I love my country and my flag. I served my community as a firefighter, and I pray daily for our children because they represent our future.

There always has been and always will be a small percentage of society who make news in undesirable ways. It can be overwhelming because there are many more media outlets now than when I was growing up.

I truly believe that the respect I receive from people, especially those younger is not only a breath of fresh air for me, but more importantly a significant indicator of a healthy future for America.  

“Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present”.    George Washington











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