Respect: A Two Way Street

Konnor Woodburn, News Editor

Many of us have had that moment: the one where our parents tell us that we don’t show them enough respect and need to be better. That is the point where you might sit there and silently yell, “but I don’t get respect either”, and after that point whenever people start lecturing us on respect, we bristle with anger. But we have to remember that respect goes both ways: not only do we have to respect our elders, but they also need to better respect us. When a person says the word respect to us, we all have an idea of what that means. It’s being kind, courteous, showing deference to others, and so on. But what is the actual definition of respect? According to Merriam Webster, to have respect is to have special or high regard for something.

With that in mind, is it possible to have respect while still arguing or disagreeing with someone? Of course it is! Just because we don’t share the same opinion with an adult doesn’t mean that we can’t be respectful in the way that we discuss it. We don’t have to agree on everything. The world we live in likes to make us believe that the only way to be respectful is to agree 100% of the time. In reality, that’s not how it is. Having differing opinions is the ultimate test of respect, but we teenagers seem to think that we have to shove our opinions down each other’s throat until we all agree. This is how we miss giving adults their share of respect.

However, adults don’t always see the full picture either. Much of the time all we teenagers are trying to do is prove that we actually have legitimate opinions and can talk about important things. Many adults may not fully understand how to show respect to teenagers, and that is part of the problem. According to Psychology Today, “When we give respect, we get it back in return.” The best way for adults to relate to teenagers and earn their respect is for them to give us respect in return. That’s how life works: you give a little, take a little. Everyone makes an effort to try and do better. This is how you drive on the two-way street called respect.