by Larry Oxenham, Publisher

If I hear one more professional athlete, politician, performer, advocate or anyone else complain about being ‘disrespected’ I will, well, not respect him/her.




Merriam Webster defines:

  • Courtesy: something that you do because it is polite, kind, etc.
  • Respect:  a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important and should be treated in an appropriate way

For some reason many people today feel entitled to respect.

Many demand respect.

In politics we often reduce it to ‘dislike the man/woman but respect the office‘.

A religion demands respect while visiting terrorism on the world.

Athletes demand respect without earning it.

A rapper demands respect while calling women ‘ho’s’ and demeaning them.

Gang members kill each others over respect they haven’t earned.

Police, firefighters and members of the military earn respect by the nature of their industry and the help they provide the public, but individual members must earn respect from others in the industry. In fact, when a military recruit enters basic training he/she loses all respect granted the individual and has to earn respect by achieving it through a combination of physical and mental challenges. When the recruit graduates, his/her superiors offer respect, because it was earned.

A teacher earns respect by meeting the daily challenge of teaching young minds what respect looks like.

The shark cartoon above comes from of the first stories lawyers hear but their industry does not command respect. On the other hand, you may have an attorney you respect. Many lawyers readily admit they are not respected by the public but happily trade earnings for that respect.

So there are levels of respect.

If you pull up to the stop sign first I let you go first; that’s courtesy.

If I am with you entering an elevator and let you go first, that’s courtesy.

If I step aside for someone in a wheelchair, that’s courtesy.


We wish someone would teach the meaning of both to kids when they are young and have them grow up understanding something in life has to be earned!

The politician, the lawyer, the big kid in class, the rapper, the religious person may be entitled to my courtesy but until they earn my respect they are not entitled to it.

Maybe to simplify it, respect comes from accomplishing something that benefits me and you.

For example, just because someone can sing, dunk a basketball, or win a case in court doesn’t benefit me.

When a police office finishes training, when a military member finishes basic training, when a fireman graduates it potentially benefits me because he/she may protect me at some point, possibly without me knowing it.

But looking at me and demanding respect, NO!

As the very famous television commercial once said, and we para-phrase; “We get respect the old fashioned way, we earn it!”

Maybe in this time of entitlement I’m asking too much!

The next time you hear someone complain about being disrespected ask him or her, “Really, what have you done to earn respect in the first place?”

Your comments always welcome …