Respect for God, God’s creation and God’s children is one of mankind’s most noble sentiments. Respect begets respect. We earn respect by giving respect. “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.” — Laurence Stone
A story is told of an old man who went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and his four-year-old grandson in the town. The old man was so feeble and trembling that while he ate with them at the table, food and drinks used to spill over and make the table clothes dirty. So, one day the son and the daughter-in-law decided to arrange a separate table for the old father to sit and eat alone, and so won’t be a botheration to others. As he would occasionally break a plate or glasses, they decided to serve him food in a wooden bowl. The elderly man sat alone in a corner and ate while the rest of the family had fun eating together. Sometimes, he would shed tears as he sat alone. The grandson watched him silently and was upset about it.
One day the young man saw his son working on a piece of wood. “What are you doing with that piece of wood, son,” he asked the boy. The boy replied, “I am making two bowls – one for you and one for mom – to eat when you grow old.” The parents of the boy grew pale and speechless. They realised how badly they were treating their father. That evening, the man took his father’s hand and led him to the main table and served him food with the others.
The little boy in the story taught his parents that respect is something you get only when you give it to others. You reap what you sow; you sow respect, you beget respect. You respect your parents, elders and teachers, and you get the same from them and others. Or else, you will end up having a lot of people disrespecting you. The best principle of respect is found in the Bible: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12).
Respect God and God’s creation
God is the Supreme Being who rules over the universe. He is in control of everything. God created this universe and all that is in it. And when he created it he found everything he created was good. God entrusted the eco system to humans to tend it, protect it and to use it. It was never meant to be exploited, disfigured or robbed it of its order and beauty.
We are not the owners of the world, but only its stewards or caretakers. “Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society,” says Pope Francis. Caring for and respecting the environment means caring for and respecting the future generations, as well. Our world is a gift we freely received and it must be shared with the generations to come.
Respect for parents
It is said that God cannot be everywhere, so he created parents. Our parents are the reason for who we are and why we are on earth. They have given us birth, they make sacrifices for nurturing us and providing for our needs and helping us in everything; they even give us their lives for us. When they grow old, sick or when their memory fails, we should not look at them as a burden, but as a blessing. We need to spend time with them, speak to them, and be kind and considerate towards them.
Joe Eruppakkatt, a former editor for ST PAULS Publications and The Teenager Today, has been actively involved in the field of print media in India, the U.S., Great Britain and Nigeria. He is currently working for ST PAULS, New Delhi.