Sunday, October 23, 2011

This week's Pep Talk: "Respect"

A recent errand took me into the neighborhood grocery store just a short walk - two blocks - from my Congress Park home on Denver’s near east side. One of the owners and I share a passion for golf and there’s also a U.S. Postal Service office within his store. We chatted for a bit, “business is slow” he admitted - bless small business owners fighting to survive! - before I headed toward the back of the store to grab a spot in line to mail documents to the mortgage company. I had to ensure it repairs were made to my humble abode’s roof following a Colorado summer hail storm. Hail is about the only thing that can screw up Centennial State summers, right?

I was second in line behind a gentleman who was, I was within earshot of his conversation with the clerk, mailing a rather large box to a adult daughter living in North Dakota. While the clerk worked diligently wrapping the parcel, the elderly man and I began to chat. I asked him how many children he had, “I have three grown daughters.” He asked me the same and I offered, “Two wonderful kids; a 22-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.” Then, I couldn’t resist considering I’m a resident of that crazy hotel fathers dwell in while raising teenage daughters - I’ve never been a girl and know what boys are like at that age, asked, “Any advice on raising daughters?”

A sly smile broke quickly across his content and weathered face. “I had it easier in my day,” he offered. “Kids today with the Internet - he now has teenage granddaughters - have so many temptations far beyond our control.” Amen brother.

Our conversation shifted to marriage and this easy-going man, with another grin on his face, informed me of 54 years of matrimony. As a twice-divorced veteran of the marriage game I have always admired others who make marriage work and queried, “What’s the key to being married that long and be happy?” He must get asked that question often because there was no hesitation, “We respect each other and don’t get on each other’s nerves.”

Amen again brother. The delightful conversation included a few good chuckles and some sports talk but was over in a few minutes. A short while later, after completing my transaction, while walking back toward home thoughts about respect crashed into cranium. I have always been fascinated with that word, defined as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone, or something, elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.”

I think we all have folks we respect, right? Family, friends, co-workers and others we deeply admire? Suddenly I remembered an acronym for “respect” that a few years ago bounced from my brain. Here it is: Reasonable Expectations Spark Productive Encounters Creating Tranquility.

Where this week could we exercise, toward others and self, “reasonable expectations sparking productive encounters creating tranquility?” Could it be what the doctored ordered as a prescription for solving challenging situations before us - home, work and elsewhere?

Operating from a foundation of respect apparently has worked well for an engaging man at the post office happily married for more than half a century, right? I’m just a simple dude from Missouri, but it seems respect based upon reasonable expectations can work for us too, wherever we roam. Good luck!

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