Children void of respect

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

I know the world we live in is constantly changing, but all change is not acceptable or morally right. As adults we had fads while growing up and did things that at the time were considered taboo, especially by the religious community (smoking cigarettes, partaking in drugs, drinking, and dancing—considered indecent by many adults). We were no saints, but looking back I don’t think we did anything to hurt anyone intentionally, unless it was to ourselves. It is frightening how the world, for the most part, has lost its moral compass accepting disrespect and blatant contempt for each other and authority as normal.

Today, disrespecting others seems a commonly acceptable practice, especially among our youth. I find the profound disregard manifested by many young adults toward each other and especially toward adults highly offensive and unacceptable. It is only made sadder by the profanity and vulgarity that so many young adults so fluently direct at others. When corrected, this disrespect is often heightened with no sign of regret by the culprit. In fact, some adults are so accustomed to young adults being verbally abusive that they appear immune to it. Perhaps one of the biggest venues of such behavior is in the schools where teachers are expected to be doormats for these tirades of verbally abusive disrespect. It is the elephant in the room that few people seem to want to address. But it impedes our communities socially, emotionally, and physically.

Unfortunately as an African American, I see an excessive display of disrespect by Black young adults made more profound by the added profanity. I don’t know it is to impress their peers; the only way they know how to communicate; just a lack of respect for oneself or others; or just pure ignorance. Surprisingly, some see such behavior as funny and entertaining, provoking gossip.

I don’t know about most people, but I don’t find cursing a person and calling them ‘out of their name’ acceptable. I don’t find it amusing seeing young adults talk back to adults disrespectfully, especially older adults who have spent a great deal of their life fighting for equality and embracing human dignity.

Parents, communities, and schools must take responsibility for being too lenient in acquiescing to this downward spiral of dehumanization that is being promoted by different venues. TV, movies, news, and media as a whole seem to help promote this behavior in young people by promoting it as ‘hip’ because it sells.

There is a litany of reasons for children being disrespectful to adults and each other but anger and an inability to communicate effectively is top on the list. Often disrespectful children come from homes with highly disrespectful parents. Children usually mimic what they experience at home.

Treating people with dignity and respect doesn’t cost you anything. Contrary to those who think it is cool to publically display acts of profound disrespect for others should realize that many people don’t find it amusing and acceptable. I truly believe we can do a better job of instilling in our children a sense of self-pride and dignity to communicate to others in a way they prefer to be treated.