Nancy Roman


I am always delighted when something I write provokes a discussion.

I like to be agreed with as much as the next person – (OK, hubby, a LOT more than the next person), but I also love it when Disagreement is not disagreeable at all. But thought-provoking. And just plan Interesting.

My last blog “You Are Entitled” generated this kind of conversation. In that blog, I wrote that although I understood the sentiment that the world doesn’t owe you anything, I didn’t necessarily agree. I feel you are entitled as a human being to:



It was the last point – Respect – that initiated many comments – (all polite and therefore “respectful”, by the way.)

Many commenters – both on the blog and some in person or emailed by friends – felt strongly that Respect is not something you are entitled to. But rather, something you EARN.

And I see their point.

The notion of Respect is very nuanced. And although in my blog post, I defined it as the simple acceptance of You as you are, the very word ‘respect’ conveys so many other concepts Not only acceptance and tolerance, but also appreciation and approval – and even admiration. And certainly Approval and Admiration aren’t inalienable rights.

But what about Respect as defined this way: The recognition of the dignity in each of us, for who we are? And maybe, just maybe, for who we are capable of being?

Here is a story:

About fifteen years ago, my husband built the beautiful house we live in today. He was the general contractor, but he is not a general contractor by trade, only by his great talent and building knowledge. So he had to hire subcontractors for the first time in many many years. He stopped at many job sites and talked to people and watched them work. And little by little, we had framers and carpenters and roofers and tilers and electricians. My husband hired many of these subcontractors by the level of carefulness and attention to detail he witnessed in their work. Not by any big portfolio of success stories. Our house was a very complex project. Some of our subcontractors had never worked on such a big and complicated house. But if they were intimidated, they soon overcame it, because my husband demonstrated that he had confidence in their abilities. He told them,
“You can do this because you have great talent and because you’ll get so much satisfaction by doing work you are proud of.”
And the result was this:
These contractors did the best work of their lives.
They took pictures. They made scrapbooks. They brought prospective customers to see their work.  And, I think – most importantly – they brought their families over to see what they had built.

So here is what I offer based on this experience.

Perhaps you are correct if you think that Respect has to be earned.

But what if –

What if –

We all just started to respect each other even BEFORE it is earned?



The hardwood floor in my foyer. Individual pieces of wood that were designed, cut, and installed by a local carpenter who had never laid a parquet floor before.


  1. That floor is amazing! A lot to ponder here on respect. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And a lovely weave pattern at that. I respect his work.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lovely piece of work.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. An interesting perspective. Perhaps what we are entitled to is acceptance (for being who we are) vs. respect (which, as noted, is earned). Interesting to note how people interpret terms differently. And I LOVE that floor! That man definitely earns my respect (as does your husband for taking on the monumental task of overseeing construction!)


    • The idea of respect is very varied and nuanced. No wonder we are not always on the same page.


  5. SuzyM

    Just look at that beautiful face … oh yeah, and that beautiful floor! I love to read what you write. Have a beautiful weekend!


    • Thanks. When Theo walked into the photo and sat down, how could I not let him stay?


  6. I think initially everyone is entitled to respect, but it is theirs to lose. Dealing with contractors lately – not showing me respect. Love dog and floor, probably your husband as well for dealing with that.


    • Respect as something that is yours to lose is an interesting concept. I’ll have to think about that for a while. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have been in the design business for decades,usually greeted with suspicion by men, sometimes with respect. Ceasing dealing with the suspicious types.Old age takes less crap.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think that is an interesting point, and I more or less see both points of view. Yes, we need to respect all living things, in as far as honoring their right to be here and our obligation to do them no harm. But if we mean respect in the “think very highly of” definition, then for me, that does have to be earned. I think the conflict comes from how we define the term respect, but I could be wrong….


    • It’s not an easy thing to figure out. I think just trying to recognize the dignity of all living things is the best way to start.


  8. Marvellous story. I can’t help mentioning that the key to whether couples stay together is… respect. I can’t help thinking that respect should be our default attitude to people, but sometimes little by little, step by step, you can lose respect for a person. That is sad and often irretrievable. Have you experienced that?


    • Chris

      And some lose respect OVERNIGHT. They may not realize it, recognize it, care, or are surprised. If they make no attempt to gain it back tells me they feel entitled no matter what. So should I respect the fact (accept) that that is who they are and will always be? Also, for the “before it is earned” – I can give you a list of people to tell that to. Sorry – another senior who is fed up.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. For me, respect is something I give automatically because we are all human beings. Until…you do something to no longer deserve it.


    • I think that’s a good strategy. And I usually try to give a person more than one chance before they lose my respect. We all make mistakes.


  10. I don’t know, Nancy. I think your husband watched those men worked and their skill, talent and work effort earned his respect before he offered them work. He didn’t just say “you, you and you” come with me and we can build my house.
    There is something people say, “With all due respect…” that suggests they don’t really respect you they feel that they are obligate to acknowledge “due” respect. I think I would rather earn their respect.


  11. Halw


  12. Respect should be earned… by the way you treat, respond and act toward people.
    If you treat me politely or rightly, I would definitely respect the person, I know that for sure.
    Now the elderly should always be respected, the bible says that,even if they are sometimes wrong, you should correct them with respect.
    Above all respect is reciprocal, if you want to be respected, you should respect others.



  1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T — notquiteold – Ibraahim bashaash

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