As I was coloring my Kittney Flears illustration …(Britney Spears + cat)… my mind wandered onto the topic of world peace.
One might wonder about the connection between the two, but for me, it’s plainly obvious: I was using a reference photograph for her school girl uniform… a sexy pose taken of me wearing my junior high school uniform, which surprisingly still fits – 16 years and 3 kids later. Albeit just barely.
Looking at the picture brought back a flood of memories from the nine years I spent attending a Christian school, and being spoon fed Bible verses and theology for breakfast, Math, and Phys. Ed.
My always-scattered thoughts jumped from one mental image to the next, until finally coming to rest on the recollection of a particular sermon.
Dealing with the subject of world-wide salvation, we were told that if everyone on this planet accepted Christ, the world would finally know true peace… because Jesus is “the Prince of Peace”.
Of course, the majority of our world religions teach the idea of “living in peace and harmony” with your surroundings, in some form or other.
Unfortunately, people get consumed by the rest of their particular dogma, instead of focusing on the basic principle of Respecting One Another.
Honestly, if you think about it – the Christian’s 10 Commandments, the Buddhist’s Eightfold path, the Islāmic Pillars of Faith, all deal with “doing right by others” and showing respect for your peers, your authority figures (human and divine), and those less fortunate.
Sure, there is much more depth to their individual teachings… entire books in fact…
But if we, as a human race, made the collective decision to Respect Each Other – each and every person, showing respect/compassion/empathy for each and every person on this planet… I believe we would achieve world peace.
Without converting everyone to one’s own religion.
Without warring to establish superiority.
So, what does “respect” actually mean?
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines respect as:
1. a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation, (i.e. “with respect to our earlier discussion”)
2. an act of giving particular attention, (i.e. consideration)
3. a high or special regard, (i.e. esteem)
4. a particular, detail (i.e. “valid in some respects”)
It comes from the Latin word respectus meaning “the act of looking back” from the verb respicere “to look back, or regard”.
In its obvious form, it means to esteem someone, to place a high value on them. But taking its additional meanings into account, it can also mean showing deference, reflecting back upon previous things, taking careful consideration, thought before action, and so forth.
To respect someone is to take their feelings into account, before you commit an action for or against them.
It means to consider the past and the consequences of past actions.
It means to thoroughly consider all the options, and every aspect of a situation.
…to give people your undivided attention, and to listen carefully.
Doesn’t it seem as painfully obvious to you, as it does to me, that if we began to practice Respect in our daily lives… there would be more peaceful encounters, more open communication, and more understanding… less misunderstanding, arguing, and violence?
If Respect were adopted worldwide.. just imagine what a difference there would be!
If husbands and wives paid close attention to each other’s needs, if children admired their parents, and parents were considerate of their children…
If neighbors and strangers acted in kindness and compassion, government officials took the time to reflect, and people truly valued their leaders…
Perhaps if we give consideration to our planet and our universe, and towards whichever Gods or Ideas that we believe in…
Then the Powers which judge us might take a second look, regard us a bit more closely…
…and conclude that this pitiful race of human beings does have some merit and worth to them, afterall.