By Deb Bryan
Where’s the respect coming from?
I received an email from my Dad the other day. His email talked about what he considered his trivial day’s tasks and his lack of relevance compared to us, his children and grandchildren. My Dad is considered elderly by probably everyone but by someone older than he is. In my mind, he will never be irrelevant nor will I consider his life trivial. My Dad is a retired Lt Colonel, a 29 Army veteran, and writes emails because he loves me. How did he come to this conclusion? The email made me wonder, do I think I only have value when I have paid employment?
In my family of origin I was required to take on a leadership role and do more than those younger than I was. I started work outside the family when I was a freshman in high school. I enjoyed the challenge of both. Much later I began employment to support my own family. I chafed at times under a lack of respect from my bosses and children. After all, they expected me to just do my job and bring home a paycheck. I glowed with excitement when I was given awards and pay raises and when I paid for one of my children to become an exchange student in Japan and then college. After all, talent, sacrifice, and hard work pays off. That was before and now I am in the “season of unemployment”.
In this season survival is not enough, I need respect and kindness. There are no employers who will stroke my pride for previous accomplishments. So I must employ myself in learning to find value; value in what I have to give not what I have to take and the pay-off is respect. The self-respect that bubbles up from within when doing the next right thing. Heeding the warning of Gandalf the Gray, “Stay on the path!!” (The Destruction of the Smaug, 2013.), I must stay on the path of respect and kindness to protect against the tyranny of the irrelevant and trivial. This is a lesson worth remembering, no matter where we find ourselves in the future.
Deb Bryan has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She has a passion for writing and Toastmasters International.
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