Tag Archives: Respect

It Shouldn’t Be That Difficult

Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.
Robert Fulghum

It doesn’t surprise me that this quote would come from someone who wrote a book called, All I Really Need To Know I learned In Kindergarten. Because children really learn, very early in life, the foundation of what should be most important to the rest of their lives.

Like all parents, I’m sure we made our share of mistakes. Parenting is a learn as you go experience so you do the best you can in situations you never imagined. Some moments require patience and understanding while some are simply common sense. Or should be.

For me, the Fulghum quote falls into the common sense category. It’s just so obvious that it’s painful to watch when it happens, and it happens much too often.

Most parents are big on discipline. They make sure their children say please and thank you. They try and teach them to be independent and they want them to respect their authority. They may punish them for disobeying their directives or not doing well in school. The list goes on.

But Fulghum takes parenting to another level of responsibility that parents sometimes ignore. The impact their own words and actions have on their children.

Are you teaching them what should be most important in their lives or satisfying your own desires because you’re unwilling or too lazy to do what’s right?

Is your language in front of your children what it should be? Children hear everything, even when you think they’re not listening.

Do you show the proper respect to others and ask that they do the same, explaining instead of ignoring or dismissing? Respect comes in many forms. Your lack of discipline should not become theirs. Continued excuses are unacceptable.

Are your prejudices on display in full view of your children? They notice and will react accordingly.

Do you attempt to influence their thoughts and actions instead of allowing them to try and make up their own minds?

Do you allow life to lead them or attempt to lead them through life without consideration for their own thoughts and interests.

Children hear what you say from the back seat of the car, from their rooms, during meals, while you think they’re preoccupied, while you’re on the phone or at the park speaking to your friends. They hear you at games, after games, during school functions and in every situation where your body language speaks louder than your words.

The absorb everything.

They recognize at a very early age what you think is most important and will follow accordingly. In many ways they will pattern their lives based on the influences your show them and the importance you place on certain things, and once it’s ingrained in their DNA, it’s hard to change. Next month or next year is too late.

Then one day they become a little older and you may not like what you see or hear. Discipline becomes a little harder until it’s not possible and then they’re on their own. A reflection of your words and actions.

Common sense stuff, right?

One would think so.



Right v Right

There is a difference between having the right to do something and doing the right thing.

As an example, we all have the right to speak what’s on our minds but we know that by doing so we may hurt someone in the process. As a result, that relationship, along with others around it, may never be the same.
The same holds true with our actions and decisions. Just because we have the right to do certain things, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. The best leaders, the most loyal friends, the smartest minds, understand that simple point. Sometimes, exercising your ability or authority without considering the feelings of others, makes you seem smaller in the eyes of those around you. Sooner or later those decisions impact your life in negative ways, especially when a pattern of insensitivity or disrespect becomes obvious.

The problem is once you say or do something like this, you can’t put the hurt back in the bag. It will always be there.

In many ways, life is not that difficult. Kindness is easy.

It’s not about having the right to do something. It’s about doing the right thing.

The Smartest Person In The Room

“There’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance. It’s called humility.
Confidence smiles. Arrogance smirks.”

I was watching an old episode of Shark Tank last week during my holiday break from blogging and there was this relatively young guy pitching his business idea to the sharks. The interesting thing about this particular show is that several investors made an offer for his business but no one wanted him to be part of it. Why? Because they thought he was a detriment to his own business and it/they would never be successful if he came along for the ride. Instead, they would essentially pay him to go away.

The other interesting part of this show is that this guy couldn’t understand why they wanted him to leave, even after the sharks tried to explain their reasoning to him. He had this bewildered look on his face, thinking that maybe he wasn’t hearing things correctly. You see, in a room filled with intelligent and very successful people, he thought he was the smartest guy in the room and had difficulty accepting anything less than his truth.

Unfortunately, we all probably know people who are affected with this smartest person in the room disorder. If you’ve ever lived with a teenager, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Luckily, most of them realize, at some point in their lives, they were wrong. The problem is, some never do. They turn into adults who believe they are the smartest person in the room because they possess a fair degree of knowledge about certain subject matters or can answer some obscure question.

Of course not every intelligent person feels or behaves this way. Most are sensitive, caring individuals who never flaunt their knowledge like some two dollar lottery winner who behaves like a wannabe genius investor. Most intelligent people understand that in a rush to be right and prove themselves to be the best, they would miss subtleties and human motivation. Because if you can understand people and give them the common courtesy of your attention instead of turning your head when they speak, you will transcend any degree of intelligence you think you might possess.

Effective problem solving requires that an individual understand people and respect their positions and opinions. If you’re so locked into your own sense of truth, you will never see that the opposite of what you believe to be true may also be true. MIss that and you miss endless  opportunities.


Ultimately, this disorder is more about winning or being right, than being smart and that, in itself, carries a heavy burden. You don’t really notice the truly intelligent people. Their egos are not obvious. Their walk is not a strut. Their smile is not a smirk. They don’t feel a need to shine a spotlight on themselves. They respect the opinion of others. They are smart enough to understand that losses always turn into wins and that everyone you meet or deal with on a daily basis has something to say that has value. The truly smart person understands that you never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.

Ignorant people with knowledge miss those little facts.

The guy on Shark Tank didn’t realize that it’s not about smarts, it’s about an inability or unwillingness to learn, to believe he may have made some mistakes along the way that not only affected his life but those around him, including his family.

The smartest guy in the room never realizes that he isn’t, even when it’s obvious to everyone around him. That’s real arrogance.

But as someone once said, arrogance is just insecurities playing dress up. 

I couldn’t agree more.