Respect, for more than just your elders

Ashley Brooke Boyd | Cartoonist

While societal structures like the caste system or feudalism are no longer present in the United States today, sometimes people act as if there is they are ranked higher on the social totem pole than others.

Everyone, regardless of race, job classification, age, sex, gender, etc. deserves respect. This understanding of inherent human dignity and value is the backbone of the U.S. Constitution. Yet, there are still clear instances where this common element of humanity is not acknowledged.

Listening to someone talk is one of the best ways to validate their feelings and intelligence. Regardless if you like what someone else has to say, listening and allowing someone to express their thoughts and opinions is a sign of respect.

Respect in the workplace increases communication and productivity, which contributes to overall greater job satisfaction. As a sense of mutual understanding in the office increases, stress decreases. There’s less cutthroat tension as people get more comfortable with each other. Increased productivity comes from stifling the need to constantly one-up fellow co-workers and instead collaborate for a common purpose.

Encouragement goes a long way, so avoid judging your peers. Judging other people is a quick and efficient way to disrupt the peace of a workplace. No one wants to come into work if someone is just going to bully or belittle them.

Respecting employees at places you don’t work is equally as important as respecting your co-workers.

Consider a scenario Baylor students often find themselves — 3 a.m. after a Baylor football win at Whataburger. It’s packed and the service may be slower than usual. Rather than internalizing the situation and making it about your internal state of hunger, take a moment to take inventory of the situation around you. There are many other people who also have the same unbearable hunger you do. The staff is not deliberately delaying your order; they are doing the best they can.

Choose your own adventure. The situation you are placed in is this: you get your Whataburger, but uh-oh, it has pickles on it, but you specifically said NO pickles. Option 1, you let the employee have a piece of your mind. You’re annoyed, so might as well take it out on whomever messed it up, right? Option 2, the employee you’re about to yell at is your sister or mom. You’d probably think twice about your response.

It’s just as easy to go up to someone and politely ask for whatever it is you did or didn’t get. Your kindness will go a long way.

Put yourself in the server’s position. A rush of boisterous Baylor fans just came flooding in and you are doing your best to meet everyone’s needs. If you accidentally messed up an order, how would you like them to address your mistake?

Respect the custodians and maintenance people, too. They work hard to clean up the mess you leave, and they work long nights and long hours. One way to respect them is to clean up after yourself and not leave stuff sitting out. If you see them in the building late at night, say thank you. Expressing gratitude for labor whose fruits is often taken for granted or overlooked goes a long way.

In the end, how you treat people is a reflection of how you value them. If you appreciate having a productive workplace, delicious hamburger or clean campus, show it to the people who make it possible.