June 4, 2014
By AlpineAspen BRONZE, Bozeman, Montana
AlpineAspen BRONZE, Bozeman, Montana
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Respect. A word that is a big part of modern culture and yet, is thrown out there so loosely, almost like slang. Can it be described without using the word itself? In other words: What is the meaning of respect?

Ever since I was little I was always told, “be respectful” or “always show respect.” After hearing this I would always try to be respectful but I never new what it meant. I subconsciously watched how older people acted because I figured that was respect. This, however, left my head spinning, for everyone acted so differently. I grew up never stopping to think about what was respect, not even when the word was brought up, until someone said to me, “what is respect.” When this happened I was a 7th grader. I went 13 years never considering the meaning of the word respect.

The etymology of the word respect is that it originated from a late Middle English word; that actually comes from the Latin word ‘respectus’ which literally means “the act of looking back at one.” At the very beginning of the word’s life it was described by the words re- which is a Latin word for back and specere which is the Latin word meaning look at.

Online dictionaries describe respect differently. Google, says “it’s a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” Merriam-Webster say’s “a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.” says: “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability.” Again all the dictionary definitions vary, not just in their wording but also in there flexibility.

My classmates said that respect is… “treating people with the same kindness and making them feel better than yourself.” “A mutual understanding that you don’t mean any harm,” this one is a totally different thought for me, because I believe respect have deeper roots. My peers also said that “respect is actually thinking and caring about people thoughts and just who they are as a person.” “to appreciation one another’s ideas and feelings.” “Understanding that people have flaws.” “ Something that can’t be earned, you start with respect than you can lose it. It is dependant on, not the individual but on who you are giving it to.” Wow there was a large rain of thoughts there, and compared to the dictionary definitions they all are unique and way more flexible. It’s cool how no definition were the same but it also points out that we never really think about the meaning of the word.

I believe respect is seeing and acknowledging someone’s, thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions. Giving them what they need, yet not tearing yourself down in the process. You have to respect yourself before you can, truly, respect others.

Respect, a word that goes way back and yet will probably go way forward. A human and worldly gift, can we use it? Respect yourself and others: Respect!

The author's comments:
I hope you or the people reading my paper will be inspired to think and develop your own meaning of the word respect.

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