This isn’t karaoke night at my local favorite watering hole, so don’t expect me to break into Aretha Franklin’s hit song released in 1967. The topic of the week, though, is the title of that hit song, and is food for thought in this week’s Voice from the Bullpen.

There are many situations in which respect should come into play in our daily routines and encounters, but the respect that many of us were taught, and try to teach, seems to have fallen into the same category as disposable diapers. It seems that it’s just been thrown away.

So, where do we begin in seeing where respect has fallen by the wayside, and where we need to begin to retrace our steps and correct this wrong that has happened far too much in our world?

How about respecting people’s right of opinion? If we want people to listen to our point of view, we need to let someone who disagrees with our point of view express their side of view as well, but both views need to be presented calmly and peacefully.

How about respecting other people’s space? People need time and space to do their thing. There are situations where people’s personal time and space is compromised. Thank goodness for Caller ID so I can screen those calls from Iowa, Indiana, Oregon, and so many other places where I don’t know anyone, knowing that the call is from a telemarketer, a political camp, a survey firm, or scam artist. You’d think these people, if they really want you to know how important you are to them and their purpose for calling, would be able to figure out general dinner hours, say 5-7 p.m., and respect people during that time.

How about respect for people’s property? What happened to teaching others not to touch what doesn’t belong to them, unless the person who owns whatever tells us it’s okay? This also applies to packages delivered and left on front porches, and then being stolen? (Not sure we can’t put some of that onus on the deliverers.)

What ever happened to not throwing trash on someone’s property, or destroying something on someone’s property? What about respecting and not destroying someone’s outdoor home furnishings, lawn decor, political endorsements, or not putting their homemade signs in someone’s yard because they don’t agree with a person’s political choices, or maybe because the person living there is in favor of a proposal being discussed by a community or school district, or just for the pleasure of destruction?

How about respect for authority, rules, laws, in our communities, jobs, and schools? Why do kids think they have the entitlement to disrespect adults, and each other, with the way they talk to others, and each other, and the way they refuse do what they’re told to do, and if they’re told there’ll be consequences, their comeback is often, ” I don’t care,” or “Whatever.” My opinion is that AUTHORITY should be respected, no matter who the people are in it. Kids should be taught that before they get to school.

What about those who don’t respect their jobs by giving an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay? Isn’t that what they signed up for? Why are there so many who try to get something for nothing, then feel good about it if they do that “successfully?”

How about respect for those who have vowed to protect us in whatever ways, be it by protecting our country’s boarders, our Constitution, protecting our rights, our lives, or keeping us, and even those who disrespect people and laws, safe from those who don’t respect us within the laws? What about respect/appreciation for those who put themselves in harm’s way in dangerous situations as police officers, fire fighters, and emergency responders? How do we say Thank You to them and keep repeating that, because they deserve it so much?

How about respect for the environment around us? What about keeping our streets clean, our air as clean as we can help make it, of using our transfer stations, landfills, and properly disposing of our trash to keep our environment as clean as it can be for us and future generations? What about trying to conserve power, water, and other resources and protecting those resources so as to have them as long as we can, in our lifetime and the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren too?

How about respect for those sitting around us at movies, concerts, sporting events, plays, lectures, etc.? Why do some feel entitled to talking when others are trying to listen, or to use foul language when in a large group setting? Where is the respect there?

How about respect for other’s differences in appearance, financial status, preferences, lifestyles, choices, as long as all of those things are within the boundaries of legality, and brotherhood?

How about respect for the past, for tradition, for those who came before us and paved the way so we might have the things we do? How about respect for this nation and the things given to us by our forefathers and everyone who fought to preserve what the Constitution has given us?

Many say that respect has to be earned, and there is some truth in that. But there needs to be respect for positions people are in, just because they are in those positions. That doesn’t mean we have to like the job they are doing, or agree with decisions made while they are doing it, but we need to respect the position they occupy. An employer needs to be respected for the position they hold. That doesn’t mean we have to like everything they do, or every decision they make, but if a person is your boss, he/she needs to be respected for that. Law enforcers need to be respected for the job they do. That doesn’t mean there aren’t bad cops out there, but the ones who do their jobs and treat people fairly need to be respected. The same holds true for teachers, coaches, mentors, advisors, tutors, volunteer group leaders. It’s true for any authority positions people are in. Bottom line is that authority needs to be respected. Along life’s way, the question, “Why do we need to do this,” is often asked, and the response that no one wants to hear is the true explanation, and the correct answer, that being, “Because someone said so.” Many might not agree with all of this, but life is full of situations where we all will have someone over us and we will need to do as we are told, again as long as it’s within the boarders of legality, decency, decorum, goodness, and brotherhood. Without authority and following directions, all we have is chaos. Chaos is a direct result of a lack of respect, and nothing good has, or ever will, come from chaos.

So, there are many questions that have been asked in this narrative, and most of them begin with the phrase, “How about respect for…” How about respecting because it is just the right thing to do? If we all give the respect that is due, more time will not be wasted, and more things will be able to be accomplished. It sounds simple, and it really is. If we respect each other, and learn to work with each other, many more accomplishments can be achieved.

And so from my standpoint, I stand up and loudly sing (please forgive my voice) Aretha Franklin’s hit tune R*E*S*P*E*C*T with emphasis on The Queen of Soul’s request for respect in the line, “All I’m asking for is a little respect…”, and rest assured, I won’t ask for anything that I’m not willing to give myself.