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  •  You are so right about kids (5+ / 0-)

    My parents always treated us with respect, just like they did anyone else. But kids always had a special place for them, and especially for my Dad.

    Dad was much more outgoing than Mom is, and while he enjoyed almost everyone he had a soft spot a mile wide for little kids. I can remember him on his hands and knees after church on Sunday mornings, giving horsey rides to the kids. Dirty suit pants? Just a price he paid to hear children laugh. He had their sense of humor, too; Dad had a lot of jokes, and told them often, and every one of them was good for a five-year-old: simple, silly, outrageously bad, and guaranteed to get a belly laugh or a groan depending on the audience.

    For years he was the assistant principal at a middle school -- which meant he knew a lot of kids by name, but very few of the good ones. He was the guy who, in my school, everybody hated. But time and time again, we'd be off somewhere, at the mall, or in the park, or even halfway across the country on vacation, and some twenty-something man or woman would come up and call him by name, and Dad would look them over for a beat and come up with a name, and ask about family members, and find out how they were doing. And every one of those former troublemaking kids looked at my father with something that looked like a melange of respect, and gratitude, and even love.

    No matter who he was with, even when he physically and verbally got down on the kids' level or had to be the disciplinarian with a troublesome adolescent, he always treated them with respect. He wasn't particularly dignified, he laughed too boisterously and too readily for that, but he had and brought to his interactions a dignity that has nothing to do with solemnity. Old or young, stranger or friend or kin, everyone was afforded a full measure of respect -- even, or perhaps most especially, when they didn't seem to deserve it.

    When he died, a retired school teacher and principal who hadn't been in front of a classroom in decades, nearly a thousand people came to the memorial service. They overflowed the sanctuary. That's the nice thing about respect, really; it circles back around.

    "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

    by pragmaticidealist on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:58:45 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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