Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Respect is never ours to command

Respect is not an action. It's a sentiment. It is not that which we do but feel. To respect someone is to hold a certain level of regard for them. This is something from within. Respect is an experience. One can only experience respect by having respect for someone else. Likewise one can only be said to respect someone by having experience respect, not showing it.

What is often termed as "respect" is not respect itself but the (expected and common) manifestations of respect. In other words, it's the actions(or lack of it) that respect brings about. These actions are the side effect of respect. They are by no means respect.

That said, I say respect is never ours to command not because it's a cliché saying. Neither do I say it because I just happen to feel that way. I say it because I have understood what respect truly is. When you truly understand what it is, you realize it is IMPOSSIBLE to command respect. You can (try to) command its side effects, its manifestations, but you can never command respect itself the same way you can never command another to feel excited. You can make others feel excited, but you can never by means of dictating actions force excitement unto them.

What I find very disturbing is how some people would expect to be respected based on their position(which no doubt they earned). They may have earned the position but respect has to be earned from each and every individual. These positions include age, occupation, title and accomplishments.

As children we were taught to "respect" our elders. As students we were taught to "respect" our teachers. Yet all they ever expected was the physical action because they immediately identified it with respect. Little do they realize "respect" can shown without being there and respect can be hidden, but there.

Where am I getting at and what sparked me to write this? All too often I felt lecturers in polys are sometimes ahead of themselves. Even teachers from secondary school for that matter. They expect respect as though it is their to command. They act as a form of superior being. What irks me more? That there are students who will let them be just that. Who will allow to be spoke to and ordered like we actually have that much respect for them we would listen to them no matter what.  What kinda mentality is that?! What are they letting themselves become?? They have allowed someone who is an equal command actions from them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying hurl vulgarities as your teacher/lecturer. I'm not saying spit at them. I'm saying don't let them treat you like they are of a superior species. If you wish to treat them as superior, let it be because you believe in your heart that they are and you listen to them out of true respect - that which has to be earned unless one so easily give superiority of being to others simply by their job title.

In other words, teachers and lecturers especially have been hired for one purpose. To educate in their field of knowledge. I highly doubt it was written in their job description "Act like you are greater than your students. Command respect. You are superior, you can tell them to do whatever you feel like"
Likewise as a student, for me personally, entering into a business course I'm there to learn about business from someone who should know better about it. I do not believe I signed up for anything that obliged myself to give anyone respect.

This isn't one of those typical student these days who suddenly feel he has "rights" and challenge lecturers/teachers based on rules and laws. No doubt I be sure to stick within them. But that is not the case in point here. I speak of something more logical but maybe a little deeper. For the unaware to realize: If you are a student, it doesn't mean your lecturer or teacher is suddenly almighty. They are human, they have been hired for a purpose. You are a customer if anything at all, you pay to be educated. You do not pay to be treated as something less than them. And for lecturers/tutors/teachers, for you to realize you don't posses superiority in terms of where respect would be concern. Because respect gives no thought or credit to hierarchy in a particular organisation or any organisation for that matter. It's a fact, not an opinion. Respect cannot be commanded by a hierarchy structure.

On a personal side: The way I see things, they just know more than me in one field. When you value yourself enough, unbiasly and non-egotistically and given that you're becoming the strongest version of yourself, they are at the most, equals until proven otherwise which is only for you to decide. I'm not a genius in my own fields in which I believe I'm good at. But if surface level knowledge is where comparisons are drawn, I'll take my knowledge in nutrition, body sculpting and even deep thoughts and put it beside any lecturer's knowledge. Like I said, they are good in only their specific field, they are not superior beings. More importantly however(yes what I mentioned in the last 2 sentences are more of a rant rather than what really matters) what really matters is within. Not knowledge but character, mentality, values, becoming the strongest version of self. That which is not governed by any form of structure or organisation.

Now for the real rant and the perfect example of a lecturer full of herself. I would not name her of course(I don't even know her name anyway). I must warn it was as much the attitude and tone in the voice that played a huge role so forgive me if it doesn't sound too much like a lecturer thinking she is some form of superior being based on black and white descriptive words.

The example follows: My 2 hour tutorial ended a few minutes early and my lecturer left before the students,which is common and fine(this is important because it means I was not staying in a classroom I was not expected to be in). During the last 30mins of officially allocated lesson time, I would eat my meal for bodybuilding reasons. As I always have in her tutorials and she's fine with it. Even chats with me about who cooks them etc(I cook them! Duh!). I usually sit at the back of class to eat to make sure I don't disturb anyone(my food has no smell and is quite disgusting anyway). That said after she left the lecturer of the next class entered a few minutes later, but still within the allocated time for my tutorial. (she's a fat lecturer. Not that it should matter but I'll be honest, it made it that much worse for a bodybuilder who is being told in a tone and manner that would suggest she is superior not to do something which is an action towards my goal that is getting in shape which is the complete opposite of what she is and I personally already would find such people hard to respect, not saying that's the best way to think but that's the truth.)

So this lecturer came in and I can't remember word for word because I really wasn't listening because I didn't expect her to talk to me but she basically told me in what I would consider a very superiority tone that I am expected to leave the class because it's no longer my lesson. Then she noticed me eating and asked me why I am eating in a way an pissed of parent would ask his/her son why he failed his exam(to which I obviously did not bother to reply to) then told me that eating is not allowed, again all in a very demeaning tone. I gave her a thumbs up without even looking at all the whole time she talked(I was at the back of the room she was at the front). And I stood up and packed my things. As I did, again with similar tone, she continued to warn me that if she saw me doing that again she would take me card(poly admin card I presume?) and well okay I didn't catch what she said after, basically a threat.

Apart from the facts of the situation like how it is still technically my scheduled time to be in the room and definitely not hers. About how it would at least be inferred that I am allowed to stay in the room. I would say this makes a perfect example of how a lecturer sees herself as an immediate superior being. That would come in and not speak to me as if I were a fellow human being on planet earth, a fellow Singaporean in Singapore, but some imaginary superiority she seems to posses in her own (can I just swear here and not seem like a loser? Okay I will anyway)... in her own fucking world. It's not her actions that irks me. It's her actions and tone that was indicative of her belief that she was a superior form that irks me. I have no problem being told to leave the room to eat my food. Many of my lecturers have told me to before, and I do so, without a squeak of complain or shadow of unhappiness. I have also over-stayed in classrooms whereby the next tutorial needs to begin and been asked to leave respectfully, which of course I leave so willingly. But when it is done in such a way that reflects the lack of comprehension of respect and an over-valued self, it is that which irks me. Nothing at all to do with the fact I'm asked to leave and not eat in classrooms.

Earn the respect you so desire. Never try to command it. Never expect it.