Advice / all

VOX Bubble: Should Respect For Elders Be Earned Or Given?

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VOX ATL is visiting North Springs High School this semester for a series of content creation and podcasting workshops. On our most recent visit we invited NSHS students to share their opinions on a number of topics they picked out as a group. One of them was the idea of respecting your elders. Some felt that respect should be earned and not automatically given, while others voiced that elders should actually respect younger people more. Read below to hear what they had to say.

Respect is one topic that people might have different opinions on, and honestly the way I was raised was that I have to respect my elders and that my elders have more wisdom than me. I agree to that, but at the same time when I try and express my feelings and/or opinions my mom sees it as disrespect. And even though I love my mom to death, sometimes I have conflicted moments with her about this topic. So, what I’m saying is respect is obviously earned, but the question is how easily are people willing to give it back. Because some people give their respect to others easily while others rarely give their respect to others. And another thing is that people should know the difference between showing respect and having basic human morals. – Christi K.

“Talkback” is one of the biggest copouts of any argument with an elder. Most of the time it is exclusively used when the older individual does not want or feel like engaging in conversation or an argument. They then pull this card or one of its many variations that essentially accomplish the same thing. Some being “I’m the ___ you’re the ___.” Or “end of story.” This is not okay. You would not pull these cards with another adult or peer. Of course, you don’t talk to everyone the same, but differences in the parties do not omit you from the conversation. Frankly, they are excuses. No matter if you or the other party is correct or incorrect, you engage in conversation and come to a resolution like any reasonable adult. Respect is earned not taken, demanded, or entitled. Earned. – Jayden A.

Kindness is free, and I believe you should give kindness to everyone and always be nice and treat others how you wish to be treated. Respect is something earned, because it can go a long way and it can be abused. I don’t believe that any random stranger deserves respect from me regardless of age. Age doesn’t give you privilege to respect, and it is simple human decency to continue to treat others how you wish to be treated your entire life. Nobody is above or below you, and we are all equal, no matter race, identity, or age. We are all human. People have always grown up to tell others to respect their elders, or that adults are always right, or never to speak against them. It is unhealthy, growing up to believe everyone older than you has better thoughts or opinions or better lives because they are always respected. To be punished for simply speaking your mind or telling an adult your opinion about a situation created a fear of speaking up to people. I used to approach speaking up for myself with a hesitancy because I was told always that I should never “talk back” or more-so share my thoughts about a situation to an adult and to just go with it, even if they are wrong. It’s unfair in a world that is already filled with difficulties. – Madison I.

Respect should be earned rather than given freely because it reflects an individual’s character and actions. When respect is earned, it carries more meaning and sincerity, fostering mutual admiration and understanding. This approach encourages personal growth and accountability, as individuals strive to demonstrate qualities worthy of respect. Ultimately, earning respect promotes healthier relationships built on genuine appreciation and recognition of one another’s efforts. – Nathan L.

I believe respect should be earned, but I do believe age can play a part. I don’t think you should talk to your friends the same as you would with your parents, nor do I think you should talk to your teacher the same way you would your siblings. Everyone deserves enough respect to be treated like a person, but expecting everyone else to treat you like an authority without having done anything isn’t required. – Jayla D.  (Monet’)

I think that respect is earned. Respect is earned because I think initially people will treat everyone with respect. It’s not until someone takes advantage of that respect that someone else chooses not to respect them anymore. Although respect should be given (coming from someone who always chooses to be the bigger and better person), respect is usually given until a person shows that they don’t deserve that respect anymore. – Jordan B.

Sometimes gaining respect for someone can be unjust. I say this because how you could respect a person and that person never respected you? In a sense that other ways people would respect you by appearance, characteristic traits, or how you both share the same ideas, or just being the same age. And you would respect people for the same reasons, but this could also be the reason you would lose respect. – Jade E.

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