Saturday, June 15, 2013

He has no respect

What do people mean when they say "He has no respect"?

I think they mean that the person in question (usually a child) doesn't respect his parents. But what's really going on is that he respects the truth, and that brings him squarely in conflict with his parents, who don't respect the truth. When a parent lies to his child -- with the intent of "winning" an argument or of protecting his self-image -- he disrespects the truth, and more importantly he disrespects his child. So how is it that the parent expects his child to respect him after first having disrespected his child? Why does the parent not think about *mutual* respect?

For you parents out there that do this, before you lie to your child, consider this: How can your child respect you if you disrespect the truth? The only way for that to happen is for your child to also disrespect the truth, to become a liar.


The same can be said about traditions. Respect for traditions is not automatic, just like respect for parents is not automatic. Traditions deserve respect if and only if they are true/good/moral. People deserve respect if and only if they respect the truth.


I've heard the argument that "the parent is acting in his child's best interests", and another version is "it's for your own good!", but lying is counter-productive to that goal -- lying is manipulation, it's inconsistency, it lacks integrity. Further, it teaches the child that using manipulation is the right way to interact with people.


I've heard the argument that "the parent didn't lie because he didn't intend to lie, he was just mistaken," but he's made the same mistake many times before and he didn't even try to solve the problem so that the mistakes would be prevented going forward. Not taking responsibility for something that you have control over is, well, irresponsible! Further, it teaches the child to live irresponsibly.

Sometimes parents are trying to win an argument as opposed to trying to find the truth. What usually happens is that the parent makes an assumption that (conveniently) "supports" his theory. And then the parent doesn't even try to criticize his assumption. Why does he do that? Because his goal isn't to find the truth -- his goal is to win the argument. The solution to this problem is a change of attitude, a change of thinking.. a change of philosophy.


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