Respect Is Putting Others First

Over the past several months I have read and listened to people as they express their total lack of understanding as to how those on the other side of the political debate can possibly think the way they do. However, this isn’t anything new for it happens all the time in every aspect of life. It can be as simple as why does one person believe in Ford products and another like Dodge products; Organic versus GMO; Holistic versus Pharmaceutical; Vaccines versus Non-Vaccines; and the list would never end. Take religion, not only are their thousands of different religions around the world, but even within the same religion you can have many other factions. Within Christianity you have over twenty thousand different denominations.  And those members in each denomination vehemently believe in dogma that is diametrically opposite of what their Christian brothers and sisters believe. And they are all studying from the same book. I have heard many a religious debate come to an abrupt end with both sides asking the other “Why can’t you see how wrong you are? You must be blind.”  Many of us react to others that don’t believe as we do as if they are believing the way they do only to make us mad.

Some say they have tried to understand the other person’s point of view, but they just can’t wrap their mind around their thought process. Here is part of the problem. Before we even begin to discuss, we have already predetermined that what others believe is pure nonsense; so, I will pretend to listen. However, from personal experience, we really aren’t listening, we are only waiting for our time to talk. Listening shows respect, and unfortunately, this is lacking on both sides of the discussion.

The key to answering this mystery is in asking the question differently. What we really are asking is “WHY DON’T YOU BELIEVE EXACTLY AS I DO? With the focus on us, we don’t take the time to listen and learn the other person’s position. Remember, you have spent countless days, months and years of your time researching and collaborating with those of the same mindset to come to your present understanding. Don’t expect everyone else to believe instantly every word you post on facebook and twitter. Offering evidence supporting your belief from resources that are prejudiced toward every belief except yours is not irrefutable proof. Yes, it is good to introduce the information that has shaped your beliefs, but don’t make the mistake in thinking that everything you have read is the gospel truth. Odds are you haven’t taken the time to study the other side.

This is similar to the mind set of those people who are prejudice against others with different colored skin, because spending all your time around people of the same color makes it impossible to understand people of a different color. Hmm. Prejudice comes in all shapes and sizes.

Reflect back five or ten years and everyone will remember what they used to believe but no longer consider. Experience has a tendency to replace knowledge with wisdom. I saw a post on facebook where a professed millennial blamed the parents for the Trump win. His response about parents brought back memories of my youth when the intellectual elite (ages 18 to 28) were anti-establishment, anti-parents, anti-police and you didn’t trust anyone over 30. To all of today’s youth: You are going down a path that your parents and every generation before you have traveled. We (Your parents) are waiting at the end of that trail with arms wide open to welcome you. Life will change you. Campus life only makes you think you are smarter than everyone else. It is a fact that a college graduate will forget over 80% of what they were taught during their 4 years. “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein.

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