Not only do people today earn disrespect, they teach, and encourage others, to earn it as well.
Children today are growing up in an extremely different world than the one I grew up in, in the sixties. As I get older, I tend to forget many things about my childhood, but one thing I remember is what my parents taught me about respect, who to give it to and when to show it.
It appears the exact opposite is happening today. My experiences prove that there are no guidelines today for the younger generation to follow, as there used to be. "Respect your elders" was an especially important phrase used by parents. Normally, parents did not have to explain this concept; it was simply something that you did without question.
Today, children question their parents on this and other subjects like the "Golden Rule". This generation wants to know why they have to respect their elders, and they want to know why they should treat people, as they would prefer others treat them.
Another rule in my house was to be on my best behavior when visiting relatives or friends. My parents did not tell me to do this every time we went to visit. I just knew to do it. I did not ask why it was necessary.
My parents also taught me to respect law enforcement, teachers, employers, etc. The behavior of many students, employees, and American citizens today, proves that their parents brought them up to earn and hand out disrespect every chance they get.
Children today are living in a world where the majority of parents believe that if they teach their children to follow certain rules and behave in a certain way, it will stifle their creativity.
While working as a lunchroom aide in a Philadelphia public school, I learned that one of the punishments teachers used to give students, writing 500-1,000 word compositions, was no longer in use because of parents' complaints. Parents claimed this assignment would discourage children from writing later in life.
This is only one example of a punishment parents forced schools to abandon. Teachers lost control of students' behavior in the classroom because parents taught their children to disrespect their teachers.
The numbers of crimes committed by juveniles today have increased. Parents do not teach their children to respect the law and those who uphold it. This leads to a life of crime for many as they enter adulthood.
Parents today also teach their children that employers owe them something and that they do not necessarily have to follow the rules of the workplace. I experienced this first-hand when returning to the workforce after a fifteen-year absence. Fellow employees spent a large part of their day on online social networking sites, checking their emails, and browsing the internet. Employers tolerate this behavior for fear of a harassment suit or a charge of discrimination. Many people today disrespect their bosses by doing everything in the course of an eight-hour workday, except work.
I have had college students ridicule me, criticize me, and argue with me, because I believe in respecting those things my parents taught me to respect. The main things I receive backtalk about are love of God, family, and country.
The responses I receive from the younger generation make me wonder if their parents taught them anything growing up. I am not saying that the younger generation has to agree with me on every subject, but there are ways to express disagreement without disrespecting the opinion of others, and thereby earning the disrespect of others.
Because of my personal experiences, I strongly believe that people today earn disrespect. I also believe people are encouraged and taught to earn that disrespect, as if it was a virtue equal to patience and tolerance. Today's Golden Rule appears to be, "Do unto others because they will do it to you".