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Respect and Responsibility

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Despite the fact that President Washington's grammar is not at today's standard, this first rule of civility is one that needs to be re-taught and re-learned by many. In today's correct verbiage it should read, "Anything you do when others are around should be done respectfully." Unfortunately, civility, graciousness, and even awareness of others are no longer taught in our churches, our homes, or our schools. The more crass and self-serving a person is, the more celebrated they become, it seems. So, how would it look if we were respectful of others and how did we get here?

RESPECT FOR GOD is where everything begins. In the USA today there are fewer religious people as a percentage of the population than ever. To ridicule a believer is about the only accepted form of harassment or "insensitivity" permissible. But, our country was founded on religious freedom and the free expression of beliefs. So, in order to return to a civil society, a return to faith...or at least respect for people of faith is absolutely necessary. So, what is a believer to do? We cannot act like non-believers. We cannot be uncivil online or in public if we want to be respected. We must sanctify ourselves, that is set ourselves apart as emmissaries of the Almighty bearing good news and demonstrating respect and grace to those we encounter. Believers must also stand firm for what we believe without compromising. We just do not get to be uncivil.

RESPECT FOR THE FAMILY is also non-negotiable. There is nothing racist, sexist, or any other "ist" about the traditional two parent family. Families have been under attack since God instituted marriage, but our society has a particular fondness for undermining fathers and stay at home moms and just about anything that demonstrates putting family and the next generation before ourselves. "Self-love" and "self-care" and fake "self-esteem" are modern mantras that are actually producing a deluded generation that does not understand love or care or esteem. Loving others helps the head hit the pillow easier at night. Caring for another person, or even a pet, has proven benefits in both physical and mental health. Esteem requires effort. Work is an exceptional means to achieve real self-esteem that gives us a sense of accomplishment. To many young people these days, work is a four-letter word.

RESPECT FOR THE COUNTRY in which we live and our amazing history. And, that brings us back to our courageous first President and his personal rules of civility. At the tender age of fourteen, he understood the value of God, family, and country. He risked his life and personal fortune for them all. He was not perfect, no one is. But his rules are a beautifully written code by which we should all strive to live.

Some individuals I regularly encounter have prompted this "top ten" list, as it were. Starting small, perhaps we can spark a revolution in respect and responsibility that will pay dividends for the next couple of centuries just like President Washington. Thank you Mr. President!

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