The value of respect (Blue Wings 6/2016)

Kansanedustajien blogit

There are few things in life that are more important than respect, be that of yourself or another human being or nature. It is the basis of who you are and how you treat others and your surroundings.

Respect is present in our day to day lives, from the moment we get up to the minute we fall asleep. A day is full of moments where we are in contact with other human beings. We greet eachother. We talk to eachother. We look at eachother. We touch eachother.

A day turns into a week. A week turns into a months. A month turns into a year. And a year turns into a lifetime. During that time we all go through good and bad patches, small and big moments. There are moments of happiness and moments of sadness.

Personally I believe that it all boils down to how you treat yourself and others. Family, friends and strangers – we are all human beings and all of us deserve respect. All humans beings are created equal.

As a father, husband and son, I want to gain the respect of my family and friends everyday. There are moments when I fail. I might be absent minded or insensitive, even selfish. There are moments when I succeed, I can just see it in the eyes of those I love. Nothing beats that feeling.

The same goes for work. Having been a government minister for eight years there have been moments of despair. It is never easy to take decisions in difficult times. And a lot of it boils down to how you respect the task at hand. Sometimes you feel proud of what you do, at others you do not.

When looking at today’s public discourse one might believe that disrespectful behaviour is on the rise. I do not know whether that is the case, but surely the instruments for expressing ones views are broader than before.

Information technology disperses views and events around the globe in the matter of seconds. In the free world we all have the right to express our opinion. Media and social media are full of both respectful and disrespectful expression. Sometimes I feel that there is a silent majority of the former and a loud minority of the latter.

Many religions talk about respect. The Bible, for instance, tells you to ”do to others as you would have them do to you”. Confucious says that ”never impose on others what you would not choose yourself”. And Buddism tells us not to hurt others ”in ways that you yourself would find hurtful”.

Philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) argued that the law of nature obliges all of us not to harm ”the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another”. At the end of the day all he called for was respect.

These are all words of wisdom. The kinds of words that provide valuable advice for our day to day lives, no matter how hard it might sometime feel. Let us all respect eachother, every day.