(FATHER): Make your bed and clean your room, all right? (BILLY): All right. I’ll do it later. Just don’t nag me about it. (FATHER): Billy, did you finish everything? (BILLY): NO! I don’t want to do it ! (muttering under the breath) Do it yourself. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Billy illustrates a disturbing trend popular in the youth of today’s society: disrespecting elders. The main victims of this unfortunate situation are the parents and teachers. This problem was first blamed on adolescence; but lately it has been getting out-of-control., alarming many.
In our efforts to strive towards a better age of technology and a better tomorrow, we are losing some of our basic principles of foundation, including respect for elders. The first major victim is the parent: the person who gives us the gift of life. If nothing else, one should respect the parent for that , for without that, we wouldn’t be on this earth. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism teach that the parent is always to be respected, deserving the utmost amount, even if he is of another faith or religion. Whether it’s “Honor thy father and thy mother” or from holy Islamic scriptures, the message is still clear and simple: no arguing, no talking back, and no being an insubordinate smart aleck. The other victim is the teacher.
Just recently, the state of Louisiana submitted a proposition to the state’s school districts, which would force a student to address his teacher as ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am.’ Is it just me, or doesn’t that seem like a common courtesy? Too many students don’t realize how important, how truly beneficial education is, and what a valuable opportunity our teachers are giving us. Instead of realizing it, we choose to quibble over trivial matter. Why just this past week, I witnessed an escalating disagreement between a teacher and a student (pause) refusing to (disgustedly) tuck in his shirt! There was no way she was going to get him to tuck in his shirt, much less thank her for the privilege. Some kids just don’t get it! We are doing ourselves a huge favor by giving that teacher the opportunity to plant the seed of everlasting knowledge. For such a significant, lifelong gift as education, the least we should do is to give that teacher the respect she deserves. Furthermore, our kids’ views of an exceptional teacher are highly distorted. The question to be asked is “What is a teacher, anyway?” Better yet, “What is an exceptional teacher?” In other countries, such as Japan and China, an instructor need not be popular or interesting as long as he is informative and the students learn, and yet he’ll still receive the highest regard.
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Being respectful is just part of our responsibilities that we have as students. In retrospect, with every succeeding generation of children in our communities, there seems to be a diminishing amount of respect being given by them to their adults, especially their parents and teachers. We must instill these basic principles and moral obligations at young ages before time runs out. Otherwise, the lack of respect will still be causing disgust and disappointment as usual. Billy could always say, “No sir, not yet. It will be finished soon, though.” (From now on, emphasize words written differently, i.e. italics, caps) Today’s youth can still wake up and realize that respect is a necessary way of life today, NOT a favor.
The Louisiana laws and possible further measures may not be the solution, but they just might be (pause) a step (pause) in the right direction.