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Monday, January 14, 2013


Here is what has been on my mind as late: Respect. I was in a bit of a situation a couple weeks ago because of this very subject. I will not go into the details of the situation, however, I can say that it involved someone who I consider important in my life. Knowing how this person grew up, I had to put that into consideration of why it happened. People show respect in many ways. They speak and act kindly, avoid insults, cruel comments and rude language. They are courteous and considerate to family members and treat others fairly, regardless of race, sex, age or ethnic group. They demonstrate respect for people who do not share their beliefs, likes, and dislikes.

American writer James Baldwin once said, "Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them." Children learn respect (or disrespect) from how we treat them and others. They reflect back everything we, as parents, say and do. When we give children the same respect we demand, we are modeling this important character trait. Remember, how we teach them is what we teach them.

Here's a little story on respect:

"Blubber, blubber!" Serena poked Wanda's side with a giggle. "A tubful of blubber."
The arctic air was chilly, but Wanda's face burned. Her friend was teasing her again.
This time Wanda boiled over. "Serena, I'm tired of your teasing. I don't want to play with you anymore!"
"Serena, that's not nice! Would you please stop?"
"Maybe." Serena's black eyes sparkled against the crystal blue sky.
"In case you hadn't noticed, it's naptime." Wanda waved a flipper at the snoozing walruses heaped around them. "I, for one, want to sleep." She plopped her head back down on the ice and squeezed her eyes shut.
Am I too fat? Wanda wondered. She did have a hefty layer of blubber, much thicker than slender Serena's.
Bump, whump, shove. "Hey!" Wanda yelped. It was Serena, flopping and squirming against Wanda on the ice.
"I c-c-can't get warm enough to sleep!" Serena said. "Let's go play instead."
"Oh, all right." Wanda heaved herself up.
"Last one to the water's a rotten sea cucumber!" Serena cried.
Galumph, galumph went the two friends along the ice, Serena whistling and clacking her teeth. Wanda laughed. Serena was a lot of fun, despite all her teasing.
Splosh! They skidded into the water and popped their heads out. Wanda's long whiskers dripped. Serena pointed and giggled. "Whoa, look at you! Monster mustache!"
In the icy water Wanda turned red hot. "Would you stop teasing me?"
"Maybe." Serena smiled and did a back flip.
Are my whiskers too long? Wanda looked at her reflection in the water. Her mustache was awfully large, much bigger than Serena's delicate one.
"C'mon, Serena, let's dive for snacks!"
"Snacks? OK."
Down they plunged into the salty water, and soon Wanda hit the murky bottom. With her whiskers Wanda gently swept the ocean floor until she found one juicy clam, two plump snails and three tasty worms. Then up she zoomed, bursting back into the frigid air.
"Yum. That was delicious!" Wanda smacked her lips. "Serena, what did you catch?"
"Oh, not much." Serena shrugged. "I'm not that hungry anyway."
"Time for water tag!" Wanda yelled and leaped away. "You're it!"
"Not for long!" Serena swam after her at top speed.
Serena tagged Wanda; Wanda tagged Serena. As they played, Wanda began to sing.
"Swimming, swooping, swishing, swirling, that's what I like to do!" she bellowed. "Swimming, swooping, swishing, sw—"
"Wow, Wanda, you're louder than a foghorn!" Serena laughed. "Watch out or you'll start an avalanche, Freaky Foghorn!"
This time Wanda boiled over. "Serena, I'm tired of your teasing. I don't want to play with you anymore!"
Wanda shot to the shore, leaving a stunned Serena behind.
Galumph, galumph Wanda went until she found a spot behind an iceberg, far away from Serena and everyone else. She plopped down, tired and unhappy, and before long, fell into a dream.
"Help! Somebody help!" cried the distant voice. Wanda jerked awake. It was Serena, for real! But where was she?
Wanda rushed from one iceberg to the next, searching. "Help!" she heard again, thin and weak. It was coming from the ocean!
There was Serena—curled up on an ice floe out in the water. Wanda dived in, and within seconds had climbed onto the patch of ice.
"I'm f-f-f-frozen," Serena said. "I c-c-can't even g-g-get into the water."
"I'll call for help," Wanda said. She began shouting in her most thunderous voice. " Emergency! Calling all walruses — here — now!"
As Wanda kept yelling, they came: walruses streaming from all directions to the ice floe. They flopped next to Serena, surrounding her, until the warmth of all the walruses thawed out her frozen body.
"Thanks, Wanda," Serena said as the two of them swam back to shore later. "Your shouting saved my life."
"Freaky Foghorn, you mean?" Wanda said with a smile.
They flopped onto the shore. "I'm really sorry I teased you." Serena sighed. "I was just jealous."
"Jealous?" Wanda's mouth hung open.
"I've always wished I had a strong voice like yours," Serena said. "And a long mustache to feel for clams. And nice, thick blubber to keep warm. I thought if I teased you about those things, it would make me feel better."
"Did it?"
"No. I only felt worse." Serena gave Wanda a sheepish look. "It was wrong. I won't tease you anymore."
Now that Wanda knew the reason for Serena's teasing, she felt better — and suddenly very hungry. "Shall I use my monster mustache to go find clams?" she asked.
"Mm . . . maybe." Serena grinned. "I mean, yes."

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