The Culture of Disrespect

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There has been a lot of talk over the past weeks about burning the American flag. Our President Elect has stated that there must be consequences for burning the flag, perhaps a year in jail or loss of citizenship.

This has sent the social media world into a twitter with people screaming about the right to free speech and other issues.

What I want to know is this? WHY would you burn our flag in the first place?

And why is an action, burning a flag, protected as “speech”?

That beautiful red, white and blue flag is the beloved symbol of this great nation. We love it so much it has familiar nicknames, Old Glory, Stars and Bars, the Star Spangled Banner.

Federal Law provides us with the United States Flag Code to protect this flag. Section 8 of this code is even titled RESPECT FOR FLAG.

I simply can not imagine any reason for a rational person with one ounce of decency or respect to burn the very thing that defines and represents our Nation. This flag has flown proudly over blood soaked battle fields in the name of Freedom and adorned coffins of our lost veterans to this cause as well as Presidents and first responder’s who also gave of their own lives to save others.

Perhaps it is as simple as a lack of respect.

We are living in a culture of disrespect. This is seen in schools, ER’s, on TV and towards our law enforcement officers and any figures of authority.

In times gone by, teaching was a profession of respect. Teachers were persons of respect. Now it seems our teachers are no more than glorified babysitters who are not allowed to have rules in the classroom and if a precious angel is failing it is the teachers fault– not little Bobby’s for refusing to do his homework.

About three years ago my daughter got home from (middle) school and said, “Guess what happened in Mrs. So&So’s class today?” Mrs. So&So was her favorite teacher at the time. Princess went on to tell me that “Little Bobby” was talking while Mrs. So&So put the assignment on the board and she asked him to be quiet, please. Bobby stood up and said, “B*tch, I don’t have to do what you say.” as he threw his pencil at her.

I stood there staring at my daughter, praying to God to please provide funds to get my kids out of public school and hoping this was a horrible joke my kid was playing on me.

I asked what happened next? My daughter shrugged and said, “he got a referral to the office.”

Where I’m sure Lil’ Bobby sat through a lecture on proper classroom behavior and speech and was sent back to the class with his bad attitude intact.

Had I dared use a word like that towards one of my teachers the referral to the office would have included a phone call to my parents, who would have requested extra licks applied via wooden paddle to my fanny by the principle and I would have spend the rest of the day in detention so I could properly anticipate with dread what was going to happen when I got home and faced my parents.

My father had told me more than once that my teachers were educated and hardworking people who worked very hard to make sure I did not grow up to be an idiot.

In the medical profession we showed our doctors respect for the many years of learning and practice they endured for the title of M.D. You were of course, allowed to ask questions or request a second opinion, but you did not show up with your print out’s from the internet, self diagnosed and demanding the drugs and treatment of your choice. Then threaten to sue if the actual doctor disagreed with you.

Violence towards Emergency Room staff– Nurses, has reached epidemic proportions requiring new laws to be put in place in an attempt to protect our angels of mercy. One of my former co-workers had her arm broken by a patient who got angry with ER wait times and slammed her up against the wall.

Television “talk” shows have become so rude and hateful I do not watch them any longer. The clips shown on social media and the news reinforce this decision for me.

The attitudes towards our law enforcement officers absolutely horrifies me. Are policemen and women perfect human beings wearing a blue uniform over their wings? Of course not! But they are human beings who for the most part, take very seriously their vow to “serve and protect”. They are put into life and death situations where decisions must be made in a nano-second… and mistakes do get made. I will not argue that.

But the fact remains that the number one way not to get your fanny kicked by law enforcement is to obey the officer, be still, and keep your mouth shut! Wait until the situation is under control and diffused before trying to argue with the police about your rights! How hard is that?

I can tell you as a former ER nurse if you want to learn respect for police officers and first responders– spend a Friday or Saturday night in a busy city ER and watch what these guys have to deal with. It will  open your eyes.

I think back to those terrible days in mid September, 2001, hundred of first responders lost to us forever, as they rushed IN, where other’s ran out and never returned.

Their caskets were draped with our beloved Old Glory and they were shown the deep respect and appreciation they so deserved.

Fifteen years later, it’s like we live in another country.

Where has the respect gone?

I got a glimpse of where it has gone from my son. He was very angry he had gotten in trouble at high school for correcting a teacher. It seems that the school had to make coaches teach in order to keep them as coaches, so a football coach with no teaching experience was now the history teacher. He had put down the wrong dates for the American Revolution. My son, the history buff, corrected him and got a referral to the office for his trouble.

I let him vent then told him he may well be smarter than the “teacher” but he was NOT the teacher and he needed to show respect for the teacher.

My son informed me respect had to be earned and he would not show respect to anyone who would not show him respect first. What?

But this is prevailing attitude of teen’s and young adults. “Don’t Dis me Man!”

I was so concerned about this I went and talked to a friend of mine, a LMHC who works with mostly kids and teens. She told me she was noticing more attitudes and actions of not only disrespect but complete disregard for other’s. So she took a day off and spent it watching TV. She watched the popular kids cable channels all day long.

The prevailing theme on every single show was that the kids run the show and are in charge. The adults were portrayed as idiots and the canned laughter that accompany’s comedy shows was used every single time an adult was made a fool of by the kids.

In addition to this subtle theme of adults as stupid bumbling idiots was the fact that on several of these shows it was either a single mom or a single dad as the “head of household”. Only one of the popular shows had both parents and the father was the step-father and the butt of most of the kids pranks and laughter.

Not one show presented both parents as a unified front to control the little perpetrators of mischief.

My blood ran cold as she named the shows, my kids had adored and watched several of the shows named daily after school. Like a lot of us, the electronic babysitter had served us well as we worked and came home exhausted.

I was blind, but now I see…

The first Commandment attached to a promise is “Honor thy Father and thy Mother: that thy days be long upon the land”  Exodus 20:12

So it begins at home, with us.

Even as teen’s it’s not to late. Put your foot down and state, “you will not speak to me that way.”  Point out on the TV,  “do you hear how rude that was?”  Even in public you can point out that manners and respect get you much better service than behaving like an impatient jerk. Show, tell and do not allow disrespect in your home. Teenagers have very good eyes, and if you remove the ear buds, those ears of theirs will hear you. Cutting off thier smart phones works like a charm!

We’ve got a long way to go to re-establish respect, both in our homes and in our country.

So perhaps “consequences” for burning our flag is not such a bad thing. You can SAY you hate this country, hate the flag, hate everything it stands for, your speech is constitutionally protected by law and millions of American servicemen and women have died to protect that right for you.  But your ACTION of burning our beloved Star Spangled Banner is not…

How about this ACTION: Let’s bring back our Pledge of Allegiance in our public schools. Lets go back to teaching our young people what is  worthy of respect. I believe if the Pledge was brought back, along with teaching on why we show respect,  there would be fewer young people who think flag burning is okay.

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Gratitude and Grief, part 2

I hope that this finds you well and happy after a blessed Thanksgiving with friends and family. I was a little shocked and very pleased to see that social media was kind this weekend and implored other’s to be kind as well. That is a nice change for the better. And something we can all be very thankful for!

But you may have spent part of your holiday with someone who is grieving. Or maybe you are the grieved this holiday season.

We care for you, those of us who have been there know what your feeling and we are praying for you. It is hard, but you will get through it.

I’m going to let Amy K. Hines take it from here with her brilliant description of this issue:

Grief

Five letters. Five life-changing, mind-altering, soul-shaking little letters.

Grief is not the antithesis of happiness or joy. It’s so much more, because it allows both moments of joy and happiness to saunter in and hang around for brief or even extended periods of time before it swoops in to reclaim its territory. It often invites its friends depression, anxiety, and fear along for the ride to ensure our full cooperation. You see, grief knows it’s life span is seasonal and uses this knowledge against us.

Grief will drape itself around you like a warm blanket, soothing, reassuring and comforting. Then just as easily, it will wrap around your neck in noose-like fashion, choking, smothering, destroying. Worse yet, if allowed, it will launch a preemptive strike on your heart; clenching it in a seemingly unshakable vice, which leads you to believe it will never leave you and you will never recover. But, never say never…

Grief operates under the assumption that we are not willing to fully explore the depths of our loss and pain. And seriously, who really wants to sign up for that? The truth is, you do. I do. We all should. There is healing in discovery. Remember, the truth will set you free.

Grief can be friend or foe, and that depends solely on how we choose to interact with it. Like any other rogue emotion, we have to constantly put grief in its place. We must always remind it who is the boss, and that goes for the friends, depression, anxiety and fear as well.

Grief can lead you down the pathway to healing or send you spiraling into the abyss of emotional damage. The choice is ours. We can choose to let grief do what it was designed to do, help us mourn and move on or we can choose to allow it consume us.

I recommend the former, and I’m pretty sure whomever or whatever you’ve lost would say the same.

Amy, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. Grief is a hard one, a path none of us wish to walk, but in season, walk we must.

This holiday season, let’s all be kind to those on this path and share our love, prayers and kindness with them all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude and grief

 

 

pianoThe season of gratitude is upon us. Tomorrow many will be gathered around tables laden with food and follow a tradition of verbalizing what they are grateful for. I love this tradition. I love hearing what pleases the heart of the speaker. I love hearing the different things that people are thankful for. Some make speeches and some falter and laugh and can only manage that they are grateful for a good meal, or football.

Gratitude reaffirms the heart.  It’s a heart change that acknowledges goodness and places focus where it should be, on good things, abundance and LIFE.

But I have always worried about those who have circumstances that seem impossible to be grateful for. What will they say? How will they manage to “fit in” this season when life has thrown nothing but curve balls all year? What if they are in a season of crushing losses, defeat, health crisis’ or even facing death? What are you grateful for now?

A wise old nurse told me one Thanksgiving, “I felt sorry for myself because I didn’t have new boots. Then I took care of the diabetic who just lost both her feet.” She smiled and offered me some of her homemade cranberry sauce.

Um, ok. Wow. Good visual, but does the fact that there is always someone out there somewhere in worse circumstances make your personal circumstance better? Easier to bear?

It’s all a matter of perspective. I can look down and see the muck at the bottom of my pity pit or I can look up and see the light. No matter what happens or is happening on this sphere, my ultimate destination is heaven. My Redeemer lives and so will I. If I can give thanks for NOTHING else– that is enough!

And rather than hide that light under a bush I can share it with other’s who may not know the Light, or have that Hope of Heaven. If nothing else, I can still provide that to someone in need of comforting.  In this current season of my own life, I am grateful for that.

So let us be a grateful people.

Let us not allow divisive politics, depression, social issues, health crisis’, loneliness,  monetary woe’s, or anything else to mar this season of gratitude. Let’s share our light, our gratitude, and allow Light to overcome darkness in this land and in our lives.

 

That being said, there will be those among us who are grieving. This will be the first holiday season spent with out a loved one who has passed on. This is incredibly difficult. I can tell you from personal experience that Christmas has never been the same for me since loosing my mother. She adored the holidays and Christmas was her time of year to shine. Christmas will always be dimmer without her light shining here on this earth, and the first few were especially hard. So let’s be grateful for everyone in our lives and extend comfort to those who are missing someone special to them. They may have a hard time coming up with something to say at the table while their mind does mental gymnastics around the missing one. We can be grateful that we can extend kindness to them and let them work through it without condemnation.

This weekend I will posting a guest blog from Amy K. Hines related to this subject and I hope you enjoy her thoughts as much as I do.

And I am grateful you spent the time to read this post and I pray you have a BLESSED Thanksgiving full of joy!

photo used in this post is courtesy of Zan Phillips, Zan Phillips Photography, Jackson Mississippi. Thank you Zan for sharing your amazing work with us!