My upbringing was one of respect, love and discipline. I am one of the blessed ones to have been raised that way. With age, times and my current geographical location, coupled with my work with children, I found the word respect and choices to have a new-found meaning.
I have realized that the biggest of form of respect one can offer another, is by being respectfully accepting of the choices another makes, regardless of personal opinion. Religion, sexual preference, lifestyle choices, clothing choices and such. By saying respectfully accepting, I don’t mean following suit. I just mean accepting that it is someone’s choice to do what they do, as much as it is mine to do what I do. I had to catch myself many a time when I would think, “Why would he/she do that?”, because that is a judgment. It doesn’t make a person good or bad just because they make a certain choice. (I am certainly not referring to fundamentalists and fanatics here. That goes into a separate genre all together).
A recent discussion on organ donation after death, sparked a small debate at home. Personally I am for donating organs, just not for research purposes. It is just a personal choice and when my spouse decided it would be for research as well, my instinct was to jump and ask why that would be a choice. It took me a few minutes to take a step back and realize it is less of a choice issue and more of a respect issue. I had to be respectful of that choice, although it wouldn’t be mine. I had to say to myself, “well it is not my body and hence not my choice”. I have to say it was a hard moment. I find, especially, in a spousal relationship, that the word respect is key.
Working with children, I have had to take multiple steps back to always ask myself the critical question, “Am I doing is for the child or because I was raised to do it a certain way?”. How do I allow a child to make a decision that is right for him/her? How do I not thrust my opinions upon the child and allow the child to make a decision?. My profession seems to have added to my long list of internal conflicts. The only way I seem to be able to find some peace seems to be moulding my thoughts :
- Just because I do or don’t do, does not make it right or wrong. It is just a matter of choice.
- Just because someone else does it or doesn’t do it, does not make it right or wrong either. It is also just a matter of choice.
- There is only that much one can blame it on upbringing. After a certain point it is only a matter of personal choice.
- There is only one key word to any success, respect!