I don’t observe as much of it as I used to. It’s essential and the world is missing something when it’s absent. Respect. I grew up with Walter Cronkite, Ronald Reagan, and Joe Montana. The journalist, the President, the quarterback—they were the best at what they did. And they were all respected because they respected all. A lot has changed in thirty years. Technology has transformed our world. But perhaps the way things have changed the most is the way we treat each other.
Jesus gives us direction on how to prosper in the way we respect each other: Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. –Matthew 7:12
Here are six whatevers you can do to give respect to all the whoevers. If you do these things you’ll most likely be respected too.
- Listen well.
Actively listen. Don’t think about your response. Ask clarifying questions. Restate what you are hearing. Make your aim to understand the other person. Your eagerness to understand demonstrates respect.
- Encourage often.
Words matter. Speak to others the way you want to be spoken to. Be quick to compliment. Be generous with good words. Comfort to the hurting. When you confront—do so with truth, grace, and an offer to support.
- Serve unselfishly.
Actions matter too. Be compassionate. Do the things nobody else wants to do. Serve when no one is watching. Love others actively and practically in the ways that are most meaningful to them. Let love be your motivation for serving—not recognition.
- Express gratitude.
Say “thank you.” Show appreciation. Regard others regularly for who they are and all they do.
- Keep your commitments.
Be on time (yes, I’m a work in progress!). Do what you say you are going to do. Under-promise and over-deliver. Other people have made plans and assumptions based on your word. Keep your word!
- Do kindness always.
Always. Not just when kindness is easy. Always. Value others more than your need to be right. Resolve conflict with patience and humility. Live out the belief that there is never a wrong time to do the kind thing.