Many people of the world understand the basic concept of this word, and in fact, demand it for themselves from others, but obviously we’re a long way from everyone really living it, otherwise we wouldn’t need locks on our house and car doors, security systems, virus protection software, police officers or armed forces.
All these things (and many others) protect us from the disrespect our fellow man gives to us and our property.
We may always need to design more airtight security systems and stronger defense mechanisms for those forces of disrespect that prevail, but they won’t address the root of the problem.
As history can testify, the most powerful force in the world, and therefore also the most dangerous, is an idea.
The most horrifying and extreme case of man’s inhumanity to man in recent history is the story of the holocaust in Nazi Germany, although there are many other similar stories around the world that have not been as publicized. Our recent terrorist attacks are also examples of the awful brutality that can be administered by our fellow man.
These extreme cases, along with all the others of lesser extreme, are due to some idea held in the hearts of man that justifies their actions.
Therefore, the best offense and defense against these dangerous ideas is to spread the opposing idea of respect for our fellow man. And when I say ‘spread’ I don’t mean like a news story that everyone hears about one day, then forgets the next day. The idea of respect must lie deep in the heart of every individual so that it guides every decision and therefore all their actions.
This kind of deep, imbedded standard of behavior usually doesn’t happen overnight. It takes many years and most easily occurs during the time when our minds are most impressionable.
It’s called upbringing.
Therefore, the solution is for me to teach my children to respect others. And to try to teach others to teach their children respect for their fellow human beings. And when I say ‘teach’ I don’t just mean ‘tell’. It must be part of our entire way of life. I must lead by example, and through many little opportunities I must instill in my children’s hearts the strong desire to respect others.
It may not be easy, or work very quickly, but in the end, it’s the only viable solution.