“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” African American inventor George Washington Carver
One of the reasons I appreciate the above quote from George Washington Carver is that it’s level setting. Every day each of us has a choice about how we are going to treat others, especially where there is a power differential. Women, people of color, the young, the elderly, individuals who work in the service industry, many others are often the target of another’s disrespect.
In my experience at the core of this disrespect is an attempt to express a level of superiority. It is a blatant exploitation of a real or perceived power differential used to create a pecking order within humanity.
As friend and colleague Catherine Meeks wrote in her recent blog, “People who do not have respect for one another and the ability to see one another as God’s beloved children, who are equals in terms of their intrinsic worth, cannot form healthy life affirming relationships with one another.”
Healthy families, healthy places of work, healthy communities are all predicated on our capacity to view all of humanity as equals deserving of respect.