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If I had to describe myself, I would say that I am a spouse, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a friend. I am a neighbor, a citizen, and a complete stranger to some. I place value on each of these roles in my life.

I was driving recently and came across a cross walk where an elderly couple (she with a walker) had stood for some time.  As I approached, I stopped my car to let them walk by. Despite me being stopped, it took the oncoming traffic some time before a car finally noticed what I had stopped for.

I was in a waiting room recently with my oldest daughter, who is now 7-years of age. She engaged another little girl who was playing with her mom’s cell phone. My daughter said hello and introduced herself. The little girl looked up, then back to the phone and ignored my child. After my daughter engaged her further (attempting to look at what was keeping her attention) the little girl decided to sit on her mother’s lap. The mother didn’t say a word.

I am a parent to three beautiful daughters. I work hard at this job everyday. I don’t expect to be perfect, nor do I hope they expect me to be. This is a learning process for us both. I am new to parenting and they are new to growing up.

I understand that my parents gave me everything they could, as I feel this way towards my own children now. I know my parents were not perfect, but they did the best they could with the situations they were in and for what they knew then. As an adult and current parent, I understand where they were, as I face challenges and questions every day from my own children. Sometimes I am right … and sometimes I am wrong.

I know my parents gave me their hearts. They gave me everything they had until I was able to face the world on my own. For that alone, I owe them respect.

What has happened to our respect for people?

I’m not sure. When one doesn’t have respect for people who love them, why would we expect them to have respect for a strange elder trying to cross the street? How could we expect our children to show respect towards another child, when we don’t hold this attribute of value ourselves?

There is not much that I can do to correct the “wrongs” of the world, but I will teach my children to respect. I demand their respect for me, as a parent, but also for every human being they meet. It’s something that we give because we are a family and a community. Maybe there are times when people lose our respect … but of those roles that I value the most in my life, there are several that I respect simply because they hold that role in my life. There is nil they could do or say that would ever change that relationship.

I hope that one day, my daughters will look at me with respect. They will one day overlook the mistakes that I make as a parent, because they understand that my intentions were good.

They will stop their car at a cross walk for an elder, because that is someone’s parent, a grandparent, a loved one, and a human being. They will teach their own children to love one another and to treat them as they would expect to be treated. This is my hope for my children. I hope it’s your wish too…