1 March 2019
Respect was a learned trait through the deeds and actions of my parents, grandparents and others; respect needed to be shown to my teachers at school, friends I played with in the street and the woman who ran the local grocery store. Politeness was drummed into me and even if I didn’t agree with someone, rudeness was never accepted or tolerated.
However, the R word seems to have lost some of its ‘spark and lustre’ in recent times.
The underlying theme of many of the news stories in the media today is a lack of respect for others. Young criminals stealing cars and home invasions in the middle of the night. They show their victims no respect and when offenders are apprehended, many continue to thumb their noses at the police and the criminal justice system.
The incidence of road rage has increased with drivers showing less respect on the roads. Someone in a mad rush to make an appointment inadvertently cuts another motorist off and before long they are trading blows in the middle of the road.
It’s also common to see politicians behaving badly, whether it be on the floor of parliament during question time or in the lead up to an election when they seem to revel in name calling and bullying behaviour. Sadly, the R word is nowhere to be seen, either in Australia or other parts of the world.
And then in the sports arena, cricket and tennis come to mind, certain individuals have let themselves, their teammates and their country down with poor decisions. The ball tampering incident in cricket is but one example. No respect was shown to the opposition team with several of the Australian players adopting a ‘win at all costs’ attitude.
Tennis has also had its fair share of scandals with the on-court and off-court antics of several Australian players dragging the sport down. The bad behaviour has also extended to issues of domestic violence with some high-profile sportsmen not respecting their partners.
No one would argue that the rise and rise of new technologies like the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube have led to vast improvements in the way we work and socialise. But for some it’s also led to more egotistical and selfish conduct with individuals being filmed performing outrageous stunts to bring attention to themselves. “Look, how good am I? I just jumped from a moving train into a river.”
It’s about instant gratification and outdoing the next person. “I performed this amazing feat so I’m better than you.” This mind-set also manifests itself in reality television and the quest for fame and fortune.
While poor behaviour and lack of respect is exasperating, people have been behaving badly for a long time and modern communications have just made it more in ‘our face’ now. Bad news travels fast and anyone can use their mobile phones to record an event. The footage can be uploaded and seen on the other side of the globe in a matter of seconds.
The world has certainly changed but that doesn’t mean people can’t be respectful in the way they conduct themselves and their treatment of others. Respect is a simple word to spell and a simple word to understand.