This article originally appeared in the February 2016 print edition.
By Michael Hernandez
When I was growing up my mother tended to be very lenient towards me and rarely did she ever punish me. In fact, she encouraged my random and brass behavior. Still she did so under one condition, respect others and yourself. As funny a combination as it may sound — a young kid doing as he pleases yet respecting his elders —I assure you it was true. Respect is a value my mother preached in the house hold. Still as expected this combination resulted with some hiccups, but my mother kept at it. Essentially as I got older I understood why she told stories regarding self-awareness and how one’s appearance in terms of how you conduct yourself can be important. All in all, the result simply was that I can be myself without sacrificing the connection I can make with other people.
In essence my character stays the same in the home as it does outside. I like to believe that I treat my school hours like a negotiation. Both parties can talk, discuss and learn from each other. My behavior will stay the same, but I don’t force my views on others. I still am that kid following his own path; yet I still have the common curtesy to appreciate what others bring to the table. I do see other individuals with the same idea of respect that I do. With that said, there are some who tend to overstep boundaries in which case I tend to simply ignore them. Reason being I can’t be myself around them and they falter my learning process. So my behavior does change but it’s only as a defense mechanism. I try to avoid people with whom I can’t have a proper discussion. Those who have that common respect for each other always have a reason for being that way. Most are brought up since their youth to acknowledge and learn from others while still maintaining their identity. It’s something I look forward in anybody I meet.
The value of respect will follow me wherever I go and especially in any profession I end up in. In a similar fashion as my school career the idea of respecting my colleagues will continue. In other words, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t respect my contemporaries and those who came before me. In many way’s the value of respect has given me the opportunity to keep learning and I believe that even when I grow older I will continue to do so. In the case for a particular profession such as journalism or teacher’s position, I believe respecting the story or student is very important. For journalism, respect goes hand and hand with its code of ethics. Essentially respecting your contemporaries and the story (anything that comes with it) should lead to a better story; a more complete story. As for the teacher’s profession it is important to have the student’s full attention. Treating young adults like adults can go a long way and the best teacher’s I’ve had the pleasure to have met all treated me as such. Basically I would follow in their footsteps. Respect by all accounts should make the job easier.
Respect is a value that has shaped my identity. My mother made sure I would understand the value respect has and how it actually enhances self identity; as well as the learning process a person can have. It is something I carry around with me, in and out of the home. It is certainly a value I will continue to carry in my profession and as I get older.