Friday, August 22, 2008


Respect. A word that seems to mean a lot of different things to different people. I was taught respect by a lady not even five feet tall. My Mom. It's funny, sometimes when I am pouring coffee and I insure that I have poured the woman's coffee first, I will come out with my pet saying, "My Mama taught me right.". It is meant as a cute saying but the truth of the matter is that it is right.

That being said, one of the biggest forms of disrespect that I see nowadays is in some peoples use or abuse of language. My biggest problem is with the f-bomb. I can handle it when in a group of guys in certain circumstances but have zero tolerance when it is used in front of children or in mixed company.

Last week, we had to take Jayden into the emergency room at the hospital. While waiting for him to go in a very angry man came by and was talking to a friend on the phone. I was resting with my chin on my chest but when he began his foul mouthed rant, my head shot up. "It's OK, Dad.", one of my daughters said. They both know me well in regards to this matter. There were women and children around. "No, it is not!", I replied. "Please don't do anything.", they asked. "I wont if he stops.", I returned.

Knowing me that well, one of them waved down the security guard. He came over and one of the girls explained the situation to them. "I can hear him.", the guard stated. "I have called for back up on this one.". "I will be your back up.", I stated as I rose from my chair. "That wont be necessary", he stated, "Backup is coming through the door right now.". I looked up to see my young friend, James, who I play poker with on Mondays for Habitat. When James arrived, they informed the man that he was going to have to leave. "Why?", he snapped back. "I am not hurting anyone." I could not hold back. "You need to watch your language, fella!", I replied loudly. His face softened quickly and his head sort of sagged. "I am sorry.", he replied. "I didn't realize that I was using it.". The two guards escorted him out of the building and I assumed my previous resting position.

Minutes later, I heard a voice and looked up to see the man now standing in the middle of the room. "For all of you with young children. I am truly sorry. I was out of hand and I promise that I will be more careful.". He then left. I looked over at the girls and winked. Their smiles showed me that they were proud of me and I felt quite good.

One week later and I am in the same emergency room. This time, I have brought my Dad in. I am sitting in the waiting room around 2AM, when a group of young men come in. One of them has a very nasty gash over his eye. As they spoke, it seemed to me that just about every other word that came from their mouths started with an F. The guy with the gash seemed to have more bleeps than words.

Now, I am sitting next to the same person that had taught me respect years ago and she deserved it right now. "Hey guys, lets watch the language.", I said. Saying nothing, they moved over to the other side of the room. I returned to my conversation with my Mom while we watched the Olympics on TV. As I spoke, I heard the bomb dropped over and over. Each time, it drew me away from my conversation.

Having had enough, I stood. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the security guard stand also. I walked over to the group of guys, looked the cut one in the eye, and said, "I know you are hurting but that is not an excuse for your language. Their are women and children in this room. Please stop.". I wasn't quite sure what the reaction was going to be and to be honest, I was a little scared even with the security guard being aware of the situation. Any one of these guys was big enough to drop me in a heart beat. But this was my Mom that I was sitting next to and I could not see any other feasible reaction to the situation.

But, instead of anger, the boy (or better young man as he was probably in his twenties) softened and he replied, "Sorry, I will try to.". "Thanks.", I returned and walked back over, sat down, and returned to my previous conversations.

Later, after they had left, the security guard walked over to me. I noticed as he got closer that it was the same guy from last week. "This time, you had my back.", I declared. "Actually, as you arose, I was getting ready to come over and ask them to go to another room. The other waiting area had no one in it.", he stated.

We talked for a while before he went out on his rounds. After my Dad was released and as I walked out to get my car, I ran into him and he introduced himself to me. Andrew was his name. And by the way that he carried himself and acted during the times that I saw him, I would say that his Momma taught him right.

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