Girl on Fire: Being respectful is still important

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, December 4, 2014]

During Thanksgiving and the following weekend, I spent my time with my mom’s family in Auburn, and dad’s family in Parkersburg and Clarion. Saturday I drove the three hours home, with a stop in Ankeny to drop my sister Brianna off at her apartment.

During the drive, Brianna and I talked about the festivities, focusing on my dad’s family. My grandparents on my mom’s side passed away when I was in high school and college, but my dad’s parents are both still alive and kicking. Being around them this holiday reinstated the fact that I know they won’t be around forever.

I also found it interesting because at events like this, I people-watch and see my relatives’ different personalities radiate through the room.

This year my dad, aunt and uncle pitched in and bought my grandparents an iPad. I think, like most people in the older generations, they were appreciative, but the amount of learning and technology in just a little tablet overwhelmed them.

The personalities burst in the room after that, with one relative downloading all sorts of applications, and another trying to teach my grandparents how to work the device while it’s being used by someone else.

It was crazy, to say the least. Then, while one of the relatives was messing with the iPad, my grandmother asked that person a question about it, and was told to shut up.

I realize many people think the generations of today have no respect for their elders, but I honestly can say I respect those who respect me and those around them. When someone tells my grandmother to shut up, let alone a relative of mine, I lose all respect for that person.

It was this act that put my grandparents into perspective for me. They are in their 80s and slowly becoming the frail human beings that we all will become someday. They are loving, caring people who don’t deserve disrespect.

I’ve always found it interesting that when I read articles in the newspaper or online, I want to be a better person because of it. The neat BuzzFeed and Huffington Post stories about disabled people with a positive outlook, or those overcoming obstacles stick out to me and make me want to be a better person, but just like a lot of things, it doesn’t really hit home until it happens to you personally.

This situation with my relative was a personal occurrence. That’s what made those feature stories hit home, and what made me want to be a better person to family and strangers.

I hope someday to be able to give back what I receive in terms of kindness from family, friends and strangers I meet on the street. This world needs a little more of that floating around.

Leave a Reply