Combination #4 from Ed Gerety‘s book Combinations is Respect. This may be one of the hardest chapters to read because each one of us in our lives has had moments when we did not respect ourselves and or others and those are the moments that come back to you at night. They wake you up in a cold sweat and make you wonder how things would be different had you made the decision that was respectful to yourself and others.
However, there are other times when you stood up to what was wrong and you did have respect for yourself, those moments are ones you can look back on with pride and satisfaction.
You may have noticed the photo above. That was me in my year of football in High School. That was not a training exercise, well not in the strictest sense that it was training me to be a better football player but more so in training me to be a better person.
Some backstory and rambling.
I joined our football team my senior year of High School. I had never played before but friends, and a former bully encouraged me to play. I was not a good player in terms of skill or ability. I’d be crazy to think that I could get on the team and be some sort of all star after never having played in my life. The best play I ever made was in practice when I went the wrong way and tackled the guy with the ball, completely on accident.
What I was good at however, was motivating my teammates. I made it my job to be up and excited through every single game. Cheering them on and yelling and screaming encouragement. I was also on “scrub” D during practices. I remember one time when I didn’t give it my all on a play and one of the captains grabbed me got in my face. He told me that if I didn’t give my best on every play and challenge him he would knock me down flat every chance he got. I was never to dog it or take it easy on him either. I was to make things difficult for him on every play. If he wasn’t challenged in practice he wouldn’t perform well in the game. That moment resonates with me to this day. Even though I never played in a single varsity game for any length of time whatsoever I was a part of the team and what I did in practice and on the sidelines mattered.
One of those things that mattered was getting the water for the guys on the field. It was the water that made the difference. Getting water was the role for the sophomores on the team because they were younger and new to the team, they hadn’t proven themselves yet. I was a senior and seniors were the tops dogs, they had cheerleaders who would make them spirit bags, decorate their lockers and wear their jersey numbers on game day. Getting the water was not the job for a senior.
I didn’t quite see it that way. On game days and during practice I would be right there with the sophomores getting water making sure that the 1st stringers had what they needed. One of the other seniors, a guy who had no respect for himself or anyone else, knocked the water out of my hands once and told me that I was a senior and that wasn’t something a senior should do. This guy was big, slow and not that bright and he figured that because he attained certain grade in high school that he didn’t have to work to help the team. He also tried to knock me down all the time for no reason other than to assert that he was bigger and stronger. He was a bully. He gave me a concussion deliberately and he made me want to quit the team. I didn’t. He did. I continued to get the water for the team.
A line that stands out in Ed’s book is “An important part of the combination of respect is to lead by example. It is not what we say but what we do.”
The reason that I was a senior getting water with the sophomores and cheering my teammates on as hard as I did was to show them all respect. I respected my coaches by working as hard as I could. I respected my teammates by challenging, motivating and serving them. I respected myself by sticking out something I had never done before and doing the best I could.
Having respect for yourself means making the hard choices to do the right thing and sticking by those choices through the consequences. Here are some questions to ponder. Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
Do we respect for ourselves as bloggers?
And what I mean by this is are we willing to do the hard work to get the job done? Are we dogging it in our content? Do we challenge our friends and do we serve each other? Do we find people who will challenge us and respect us? Are we using our influence to help others make decisions that are beneficial for them or for us? Can it be both?
Do we disrespect ourselves as bloggers?
Do we try and post ourselves up by tearing others down? Do we take the easy way out and go for the quick buck that compromises our values? Do we propagate negativity when someone else succeeds or do we celebrate them for a job well done?
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