You can’t teach that shit in school, but they try it anyway!
Man, I distinctly remember a period in my childhood during which respect was the focus of what we young ones were being taught by popular media and the social parts of school lessons. Writing this I suspect it may partially have had to do with treating the immigrants and their descendants in our country better (though I’m not sure the extent to which this was necessary), but the reason doesn’t really matter, my point will still stand.
As said in the opening sentence, you can’t teach respect. Not in school, not through government-funded marketing programs, nothing. The whole “this is what respect is and you all should feel it for each other” felt really forced, the teaching in media felt fake and meaningless (though that may have been just me), and the actual concept of having respect just never really clicked. Don’t get me wrong, I was a good kid, and maybe that’s what made it all so odd for me: we were putting very explicit emphasis on something that I thought was a natural thing to do.
Even then though, I don’t think my younger self had the ability to respect people/things in the same way I do now. It’s more mature, obviously, but also much more heart-felt. Maybe it’s because I’ve chosen to be slightly more selective? You have to earn my respect. (I really can’t phrase that without sounding rude, right?) Be a good person, fight for what you believe in, be respectful (full circle!), boy-scout principle, anything. It doesn’t have to be anything big or flashy, just do what it is you do and I’ll respect you for it if it aligns with me.
That sounded… rather condescending. Don’t mean anything by it, just want to make clear it’s not a small deal to gain respect from people. And it shouldn’t be! Can’t have inflation happening to respect, now can we?