SHE RESPECTED THE BOY AND PROBABLY CHANGED HIS LIFE

 

What Are You Doing With Your Life?
When a teenager tries to break into her home, Joey Garcia asks him an unexpected question.

By Joey Garcia

I was at my laptop working on a poem when I realized that late afternoon had darkened into evening. I should probably close the windows in the front of the house, I thought.

The early evening light was dim but when I walked into the kitchen, I could clearly see the young man straddling the windowsill, breaking into my home.

He was a teenager, 17 or 18 years old. I felt strangely calm, probably because of my two decades as a high school teacher and life coach for teens. So it didn’t surprise me when a sincere question came into my mind:

“What are you doing with your life?”

He froze. I asked again, louder this time, my hands flapping emphatically: “What are you doing with your life?”

Watching me carefully for a moment, he seemed to ponder the question. Then he began to back out of the window.

I told him I would count to three and yell for help.

The young man ran. With shaky hands, I closed and locked my windows, careful not to touch the one he had entered, or the screen he had removed to break in. Evidence, I thought.

When the police officer arrived, he asked me what happened. When I explained, he asked if I knew the young man. “No” I said. The officer narrowed his eyes. “Then why did you ask, ‘What are you doing with your life?'”

I don’t remember what I told him. But the truth is, I feel responsible for all kids. Every child is my child. I believe that every adult is responsible for guiding teens to maturity. We must all help every teenager we meet to navigate a path into a rewarding life.

Looking back, I think I understand why the young man ran away. To be asked, “What are you doing with your life?” is to be acknowledged as if you matter, are loved and are valued.

In the end, I committed the bolder theft. He tried to break into my house, but I tried to break into his consciousness.

With a Perspective, I’m Joey Garcia.

Joey Garcia is an advice columnist in Sacramento

http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R201512290643

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year from Resetting Respect, with a suggestion that resetting your respect attitude just might be the perfect New Year’s resolution, as it’s got all other positive resolutions covered!  Resolving to lose weight, or eat more veggies, or walk more miles? That’s self respect.  Resolving to spend more time with your kids, have real conversations with your partner, take your dog on more of those walks?  That’s respect for your family. Resolving to recycle more of your trash, compost your garbage, waste less water?  That’s respect for the environment.

When you decide to reset your respect attitude and acknowledge the value in everyone and everything, you reset the way you live your life.  And that’s to your benefit, the benefit of everyone else, and the benefit of this world we all share.

Why not give it a try?  It really will lower your stress level and just might save the world!

6 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO COUNTER GUN VIOLENCE

Cliff Schecter’s 2014 article from Moyers & company suggests 5 excellent ways ordinary citizens can have an impact on gun violence.  I encourage you to read the article and do what you can.

But I also suggest a 6th way all of us, regardless of political affiliation or position on the issue of gun violence, can have an impact.  I suggest we all need to breathe deeply and reset our respect attitude.  We all need to look for and nurture the value in every person we encounter.  The sweet little child across the street.  The difficult bagger at the grocery. The aggressive driver in our trunk.  The grouchy neighbor next door.

What would that do?

1) Every person would be valued and supported and less inclined to turn to violence for attention or validation.

2)  By paying better attention to all those around us, we would likely identify those in great need of help before they turned to violence.

3) The very difficult subject of gun violence could be discussed rationally by all sides of the topic, and an acceptable resolution reached.

4) The big picture of mental health/mental illness would not get lost in the debate and could actually be addressed.

5) The polarization in this country would be significantly reduced and we could approach and solve other divisive issues as well.

As I said in Resetting Respect, being respectful to all people, ideas and things seems simple.  It IS simple.  And profound.  It only requires an attitude adjustment, a shift from, “Show me,” to “You are valuable.”  We can start slowly and build the habit.  It is contagious — respect begets respect.  There is no penalty for slip-ups other than the status quo.  Respect doesn’t hurt anyone or anything.  It doesn’t cost anything other than a little mental effort to establish the habit.  Worst case scenario is that by living respectfully we lower our collective stress level.  Best case scenario is that respect becomes the norm and much of the rancor and posturing and pain and hatred in our society are eliminated. Then we, as individuals, as a society, and as a world can begin to address the major problems confronting us with a real chance to do something about them.  In fact, our respectful attitudes will already have begun the process!

 

POPE FRANCIS OFFERS RESPECT AND CHALLENGE

pope-francis-john-boehner-sad-face-lg

In his address to the Congress of the United States on September 24, 2015, Pope Francis expressed great respect for the American people in the way he discussed what he values about us.  That was especially clear as he described how Abraham Lincoln fought for liberty, Martin Luther King, Jr., struggled for equal rights for all, Dorothy Day worked for social justice for everyone, and Thomas Merton promoted discussion and peace between peoples and religions.  But then, as Pope Francis elaborated on the efforts and ideas of those four representative Americans, he challenged the Congress, and he challenged each and every American, to live up to those role models, to apply what we can learn from their examples to the many crises facing our world today:  poverty and income inequality; immigration; heightened racial and religious tensions;  global warming. He acknowledged our value, and then challenged us to live up to that inherent value, to the beliefs that we hold.  And he told us he was confident we could do it.  Then, from the porch of the United States Capitol, he asked for the prayers and well-wishes of the thousands before him, an acknowledgment of the value of each person in the throng. What a wonderful and, I hope and suspect, effective example of respect Pope Francis has given us.

RESPECT IN ACTION…FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

 What a wonderful example of respect.  I hope the effort continues, becomes an annual tradition, and spreads far and wide!
What a beautiful way to show the kids in your community that you care about them.
UPWORTHY.COM|BY LORI WHITE

THE ATTRIBUTE FROM WHICH ALL OTHERS FLOW

 Although respect is both a verb and a noun, I like to think of it as something I need to do.  And, as I believe that respect is acknowledging a person or thing’s value and accepting responsibility for helping maintain that value, then all the other attributes on the list below will result from or be a part of the respect that is given.  Think about it.  Manners like “please” and “thank you,” or holding the door for another, are small behaviors that promote civil behavior and make recipients feel valued.  All those common-sense wisdoms we’ve learned, like “a penny saved is a penny earned” and  “waste not, want not,” ultimately have to do with taking care of the value of a person or an item.  “Haste makes waste” acknowledges the need for patience.  And I fervently believe that love frequently follows respect, especially when a person is hard to love. When I discover what a person is good at, what they know that is useful or interesting, the good that they do that I never would have guessed, and then I invest in helping them maintain that value, love for that person almost always follows, often much to my surprise.

WAYS TO RESPECT YOUR STUDENTS

Students need respect, too!  The following list from Resetting Respect offers some suggestions for all those who work with students.

 unnamedWays to Respect Your Students

1) Listen carefully to each student.

2) Give appropriate and helpful feedback.

3) Be clear about and give frequent reminders of expectations.

4) Be clear, fair and consistent about consequences.

5) Don’t compare students to their siblings or make frequent references to them.

6) Recognize the attention spans and activity levels of your students and design the day accordingly.

7) Avoid demeaning or humiliating any student either in front of the class or in one-on-one situations.

8) Avoid using sarcasm with students. They frequently won’t understand it and will be further confused by it.

9) Allow students to participate in establishing classroom guidelines.

10) Find out what the students want to learn, and incorporate as much of that as possible into the curriculum.

11) Present new material a variety of ways that address different learning styles, providing an opportunity for all students to learn the new content.

12) Create an atmosphere that encourages the students to share their problems and concerns with you, and then strategize with the students to address those issues.

 

Note to Communities, School Administrations and School Boards: For students to feel respected and to understand that you consider their education valuable and important, as well as for them to be able to learn, schools themselves must be safe, clean, and in good repair.

WAYS TO RESPECT YOUR TEACHER

In honor of the new school year, here is an excerpt from my book, Resetting Respect, that offers some things for students of all ages to think about.images

Ways to Respect Your Teacher

1) Try to give the teacher your full attention.

2) Follow the classroom rules and guidelines.

3) Use good manners with your teacher.

4) Do your best to get to school and class on time.

5) Let your teacher know if you don’t understand something or have a concern or a problem.

6) Keep your hands to yourself in the classroom and on the playground.

7) Try not to disturb the other students.

8) Do the assigned work to the best of your ability and on time.

9) Participate enthusiastically in classroom activities.

10) Offer to help the teacher when you notice something that needs doing.

 

Note to Parents: For a classroom to be successful, teachers need to respect the students and students need to respect the teachers. Therefore it is imperative that you model respect for teachers at home. If your kids think you don’t respect their teachers, it is likely they won’t respect their teachers either.

RESPECT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: GOP DEBATE, AUG 6

I must admit that while I was watching the first 2016 GOP debate live, I was focusing on my “sense of” the candidates, appraising their tactics, and musing on the intentions of the journalists.  It was when I recently watched the debate a second time (and I will admit I didn’t get to see it all), that I noticed some respect takeaways:

“We need to stop worrying about being loved and start worrying about being respected,” opined Governor Chris Christie about international relations.

“We need to give everybody the chance, treat everybody with respect and let them share in this great American dream that we have,” Governor John Kasich said, after having offered that while he does not agree with same-sex marriage, the court has ruled and he accepts it.

And Donald Trump.  He seems to confuse political correctness with respect and civility, and lowers the bar on behavior to the detriment of us all.  A more respectful Trump could help us know his policy positions rather than leaving us simply to respond, positively or negatively, to his style. A more respectful Trump might inspire the picture of a more presidential Trump rather than the bombastic incident-inciter he currently seems.  A more respectful Trump might help us decide whether his campaign is truly for real or just for his own amusement and gratification.

 

KEEPING TRACK OF RESPECT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

This post may be the first use of the word “respect” I’ve seen by a 2016 presidential candidate.  Let’s keep track — let me know if you’ve seen or see other instances of the word or respectful behavior, regardless of political affiliation!

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Sunday that he does not always see eye to eye with Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

“She and I disagree on many issues,” Sanders, himself a 2016 White House hopeful, said of Clinton on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I have a lot of respect for Hillary Clinton,” he told host Jonathan Karl. “She is somebody I’ve known for 25 years.”

“I’m not going to be engaging in personal attacks against her,” Sanders added.

“The American people want a serious debate about serious issues, not personal attacks.”