Got Respect?

bowing

Many sad stories fill the news these days about how there is no respect for law enforcement officers.  Police are targeted and gunned down while simply doing their jobs.  While citizens may feel that the bottom line is that respect for the police is lacking, such a conclusion falls far short of the real societal issue.  What issue is that?  Well, there’s simply a lack of respect in general, not just for law enforcement officers.

What exactly is it that we don’t have?  The dictionary tells us that to respect is to show deferential regard for someone.  Just like Aretha Franklin, we all want to have people show us “just a little bit” of “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”  Showing deferential regard for another person is a great first step to achieving a positive outcome in your interactions with them.

The fact that law enforcement officers are not respected is just a symptom of an overall lack of respect in today’s world.  This lack of respect starts with a disregard for the sanctity of life.  Don’t want an unplanned pregnancy?  Have an abortion.  Don’t agree with someone’s religious views or sexual orientation?  Just take them out.  Does a person’s uniform associate him with mistreatment undertaken by someone else similarly dressed?  Gun him down.

It is not just blue lives that matter.  ALL lives matter–regardless of gender, race, religion, age, economic status, educational background, political affiliation, prior criminal history or length of time since conception.  It’s a slippery slope when the sanctity of life is not respected; the disrespect gains momentum and the downhill slide begins.

No one should be  surprised that the police are prime targets of disrespect. They are figures of authority, and respect for ANY type of authority is clearly lacking in our country.  If you doubt this statement, just spend some time at your local public school.  You will be appalled at the great disrespect displayed by the students to their teachers and to the administration.

My husband has been employed by a school district for a number of years.  He has witnessed firsthand the rampant disrespect for authority figures.  What’s a teacher to do?  Well, apparently, you become numb to it and ignore it.  The days of yore when  a student could be sent to the principal’s office to be paddled are long past, and any type of sanction (verbal or otherwise) imposed on a student could be fodder for a lawsuit.  One of my children’s public school teacher’s got so fed up with the threat of legal retailiation that he stated in class one day that he didn’t want to hear from anyone about having an attorney on speed dial.  Parents don’t back up the authority figures in the schools; they are the ones rushing to call legal counsel.  In the good old days, the threat of a teacher calling your parent was enough to strike fear into any student; that meant that there would be negative consequences at school AND at home.

Adults in the real world are not respectful to one another either.  For proof of that statement, just hit the road.  Sooner or later you’ll encounter some road rage.  If you have never been rudely honked at, given the finger, cut off, or cussed out by another driver, then you must be a little old lady who only drives her car to church on Sunday morning..

And disrespect is not limited to the routes of transportation.  A trip to the doctor’s office can lead to both a shot in the arm and a shot to your self-esteem.  Nothing like the nurse younger than you are calling you “sweetie” or “dear” to make you feel respected.  NOT.  If people politely address you by some semblance of formality, at least the notion is conveyed that you are recognized as a fellow human being worthy of some respect.

Resoect doff hat

If we can’t be courteous or respectful in common situations such as in the classroom, on the road or at the doctor’s office, how in the world could anyone think that we are up to showing respect in more stressful situations, i.e., when encountering someone in uniform with a gun who can tote you off to the pokey for breaking the law.

The solution to the lack of respect for law enforcement is simple in concept but difficult to actually effect.  We don’t need to arm police with military style weaponry, provide citizens with sensitivity training towards police, etc.  What we need to do is start at the beginning.  We need to teach our children to have respect for everyone in all situations–parents, teachers, fellow drivers, police, etc.  This solution will require effort on the part of parents and their offspring alike.

For those who are already  adults, they are responsible for their own actions at this point.  A good rule of thumb for them is the Golden Rule. They need to ask themselves, “If I were a police officer/teacher/patient, etc., how would I want someone to interact with me?”  Think about it and then act like you would want to be treated, i.e., show them some respect.

Sure, what the world needs now is love, sweet love.  But it also needs just a little bit of “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survivor–The Summer Road Trip

open road

The purpose of taking a summer vacation is to get away from it all–to rest, relax and regroup before returning to the rat race.  The problem is that you are tired and frazzled when you leave on the road trip to get to your vacation destination.  On top of your daily responsibilities, you have had to pack, make arrangements for your pets, figure out the best route to travel, etc.  And then you take on the most stressful part of your vacation–spending hours on the road getting from point A to point B.

If you are the driver, at least you are occupied with maneuvering your vehicle down the highway.  It may be dull, but you have to keep an eye on the posted speed limit, watch out for merging vehicles, pass slow moving trucks, etc.  But what does the poor adult passenger do to survive the interminable hours on the road before your reach point B?

I recently participated in “Survivor–The Summer Road Trip,” so I was forced to determine how to avoid insanity en route.  Since millions of Americans will be hitting this road for a summer vacation, I want to share my findings on how to survive for the benefit of future travelers.

In this electronic age, most drivers rely on a GPS and/or mapquest to get them where they are going.  Don’t be fooled by the travel time which is given to you.  Electronic travel time is not equivalent to real travel time.  Electronic travelers apparently never have to stop to get gas, eat, or use the restroom.  Therefore, don’t be lulled into a false timetable.  Add at least an hour to the time your device tells you.  If you think that it will take 11 hours to get to your destination and it takes 12, you will be frustrated because you were expecting to arrive sooner.  If you think it would take 12 hours to get to your destination and it takes 12, you will be tired and cranky, but at least you were expecting that travel length.

GPS

It’s a funny thing about car travel.  All you have to do is sit inside the vehicle and watch the world whiz by.  You can get very hungry from this inactivity. In actuality, you are just bored, and, well, eating is something to do.  Accordingly, you should pack some snacks to consume to help pass the time.  And be sure that you pack the snacks in an easily accessible place.  It does not contribute to marital harmony to find out that your beloved spouse has packed the object of your gastronomic desire in the trunk as you barrel down the interstate at 75 mph.

Nevertheless, inaccessible food can provide an entertaining activity.  You know you have been in the car for too long when you start reading all the billboards and determining what new menu items you must try at the inevitable fast food restaurants conveniently situated off any exit.  I personally was able to try three new menu items on pits stops during my recent road trip–one which lasted over 12 hours one way.

Mac'n Cheetos

Not only was I able to sample new food items, but I killed some time taking pictures of the items with my cell phone and providing my spouse with a critique of the food quality.  Thumbs up for Mac’n Cheetos at Burger King.  Sounds gross but tastes great.  The  buffalo chicken slider at Arby’s missed the mark with me; it did not have enough blue cheese on it to match the fire of the buffalo sauce.  The loaded curly fries at Arby’s tasted yummy, but got low marks for presentation.  Whole bacon strips on top looked out of place; crumbled bacon bits would have been a more eye-pleasing choice.

Arby's Slider

Maps can also add moments of fun.  Welcome centers located just past the state line usually hand out free state maps.  I like to look these maps over and see what strange/weird locations I can find.  Did you know that there is a town in South Carolina called Switzerland?  I really wanted to stop there so I could brag to my friends that I had been to Switzerland on vacation.  Unfortunately, Switzerland was too far off of I-95 to take a detour; we were already going to be on the road for 12 hours or so, and I was not eager to add to that figure.

SC sign

Music is also a good distraction.  Hubby found some downloaded songs on his phone and played them on the car radio for me.  I was amazed at how many of the lyrics to Bread’s greatest hits I could recall.  And speaking of singing, why not see how many times you can get through “99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall” from your starting point to your destination?  If you assume you can sing the lyrics for one bottle in ten seconds, then you can get through the whole song in about 17 minutes.  Um, no.  I do not want to sing that song 42 times in a 12 hour period. That would contribute to insanity rather than help avoid it.

How about playing a game?  The driver can’t play a board game with you, but there’s always I Spy, a favorite game when I was a child on vacation with my family.  Warning.  Do not play this game while traveling on I-10 through Florida or on I-95 through South Carolina.  The only thing that you really spy outside your car along the interstate there is trees.  BORING.

Why not use the time you are trapped in the car to improve your mind?  Given that it is an election year with Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate and, more importantly, that we had just seen the movie “13 Hours” on Netflix, we decided to look up Benghazi on the cell phone and read all about it.  Oh, my!  I understand the incident much better now, but perhaps ignorance was bliss.

The passenger can always read.  I tried to be considerate of my driving spouse and offered to read interesting articles out loud to him from the newspaper and from a magazine I had brought on the trip.  Unfortunately, you cannot share the amazing pictures that accompany these articles with the driver because you want him to keep his eyes on the road.  Arrive alive and all that.

After awhile you will find that your sanity can only be maintained by periodic stops to escape the torture chamber in which you are trapped.  What?  The Florida Welcome Center is giving away free OJ?  Stop now!  The fact that the beverage comes from the same carton you would buy at the supermarket and is served in a miniscule paper cup is irrelevant to you at that point.  What?  A rest area?  Stop now!  We must walk the dog in case she needs to go potty.  The fact that the dog went potty about an hour ago and did not drink any OJ or any other beverage in the meantime is irrelevant at that point.

FL OJ

Why in the world would any sane adult embark on a 726 mile (one way) road trip in the summer heat putting her safety at risk on the interstate and straining the current good relationship with her spouse?  It is all about motivation.  For me, the motivation was small, very small–grandchildren size small.  It’s amazing what you will endure to be with the ones you love.

I am happy to report that my road trip was successful–I reached my destination and returned home safely with my sanity intact.  I won “Survivor–The Summer Road Trip!”