To most people, respect is something that you give automatically to those who have done something important in society. A monarch, a celebrity, a politician or even someone older or someone that earns more money than you.
I see respect as a very different thing. Respect is something that you earn slowly, something that builds up over time. You cannot automatically have respect for somebody because in each area of life they must earn it.
The Queen has done nothing for this country or for me. I have no respect for her and I shouldn’t be made to feel bad for that. Respect is personal, it can’t be forced upon you. That is why being told to respect your elders is akin to brain washing. Being told that you have to respect somebody just because they are older than you is nothing more than social control and an early introduction to authority. A child should be taught to find certain attributes admirable and base their respect on those features that they admire.
I understand the need for temporary respect on first meetings. You have to assume some respect early in a relationship because otherwise civility is impossible. But that should apply to everyone and be a base level that we work from, to a degree where it isn’t even seen as respect. Then based on individual decision it should move from neutral to positive or negative. Nobody should be respected merely for their age, their social class or anything else inherent to their being.
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