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You can describe society in a dozen different ways, but ‘respectful’ might not come to mind. A time when you could have an argument with someone and shake hands at the end is long gone. 

Many people don’t respect those they disagree with, but they couldn’t be more wrong. 

In this episode, Dr. Rick discusses how respect restores an American culture and why you should remain a figure of honor and dignity (even with those you disagree with). 

Show Highlights Include:

  • How sitting on the front porch with your neighbors builds a foundation of respect and civility (that will inspire everyone in your family). (0:30)
  • What the Boston Tea Party taught us about dealing with conflict and how you can grow with dignity in your next heated argument. (3:51)
  • Why the U.S Military takes respect to the next level – and why you should treat others with the same honor. (6:58)
  • The ‘Nordstrom Way’ and how it makes you a more dignified and less judgmental person. (10:41)

Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Click here to get the first chapter of Dr. Rick’s best-selling book, Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout, for free.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby—and, now, Dr. Rick.

Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. So glad that you could join us today. I want to talk about respect.

There used to be a time that respect was one of the chief cornerstones in the foundation of a human being and it seems like those times have evaporated. However, I believe with all my heart that being a respectful person never goes out of style. You can contribute that kind of belief to the lessons that were taught to me by the wisest man I've ever met in my life, a third-grade dropout, my daddy, who taught me to respect people, to show reverence to people. [01:04.7]

The term, “reverence”, isn't one that we use a whole lot in this day and age. Reverence is based on respect. Reverence is the highest level of honor and respect that we can give a person, that we can give some thing. When we have reverence for someone, we hold them in such high regard that we are often left with a sense of awe.

When I see a lack of respect in our society these days, when I see a lack of honor, when I see a lack of reverence, I wonder about the eroding values in our culture and I wonder the change that could occur if each of us increased our respect for one another. I remember a different time. I remember when we used to honor people. I remember when respecting people, that was the mandate of the hour. [02:04.7]

I can still remember my mom and dad sitting on the front porch. Now, we got to go back a few years to when we had front porches. We didn't have garages in my neighborhood, growing up in the ’60s in Northern California. We had driveways and we would sit on our front porch and, often in the evenings, especially in the summer months, neighbors would congregate on the porches in my neighborhood and the discussions would be incredibly lively.

Now, picture this. We had quite a diversity on our block. We had black, white. We had Hispanic. We had Filipino. We had Asian. Imagine the conversations based on the backgrounds, based on the diversity. We had men. We had women. And we had big, big discussions, discussions that oftentimes would last well into the hour of the night, and not everyone agreed and that's the point. [03:09.7]

What I used to find amazing even as a child is I would observe my mother or my father having a robust discussion with a neighbor, arguing their point vehemently, but at the end of the discussion, they would always stand up, sometimes hug, but always shake hands and look forward to the very next time they could have a discussion. That, my friend, is what I'm talking about, a return to that kind of respect, a return to that kind of civility.

My brother, I'm so proud of my baby brother, who also saw this model. Today, my baby brother is a superior court judge in Washington, D.C., and I've had the occasion to be in his courtroom to simply observe, and when he walks into that courtroom, his presence commands respect. I like that. That was the way that we were reared. [04:06.6]

We were reared to show respect to people in authority. We were reared to show respect to particular offices in American society. I liked that. I remember a year ago or so, I remember that the television show on Fox was kind enough to invite me to a program. It's a program that I love called Making Money with Charles Payne. Now, I don't make a lot of money, but sometimes Mr. Payne will have me come in to show the human side of American culture.

On this particular day, Mr. Payne had on his show a die-hard Democrat, a die-hard Republican, had them at the Christmas table with the goal being, how do we have Christmas dinner without killing each other? And then I was to weigh in from a communicative perspective. [05:00.0]

And my response was simply this: Rick, don't, you remember your parents? Don't you remember what your parents taught you? It's not so much about winning an argument as much as it is about respecting those who disagree with you, respecting those you disagree with. It's about civility and I think that that's missing in American culture today, friend, and I want to tell you something—I really don't believe we're going to see the best in each of us until we turned back to that simple way of dealing with conflict.

Today, when there's a disagreement, you don't see much respect. Today, when there's a disagreement, sometimes it can end violently, sometimes tragically. I think we must remind ourselves that dissension is not a bad thing. I mean, think about it for a moment. Dissension how we pulled away from British rule. Dissension is how we struggled to start our own country. Dissension advances citizenship. Dissension is not a bad thing. [06:12.7]

I've often said that we don't have to think alike, but it certainly helps when we think together and, friends, we should always be respectful. We should always respect opposing views. We may not like what the other person is saying, but I think we ought to learn how to respect that person.

A lack of respect means that we are not willing to show honor. A lack of respect means that we're not willing to show reverence. We don't honor the dignity of others seemingly anymore in this country. I've been thinking a lot about this, particularly over the last week, in light of a recent visit to an Air Force base. [06:57.2]

Friends, recently, I had the great honor to speak to the airmen at Altus Air Force Base in Altus, Okla. That is the home of the 97th Air Mobility Wing. It's known as Mobility's hometown and deservedly so. Altus Air Force Base provides advanced specialty training for flight crews, and aircraft maintenance teams and support crews. These crews train every day to deploy personnel and cargo wherever needed throughout the world.

The airmen, the boom operators, the support crews, they train on C-17s. They train on KC-135 and KC-46 aircraft. Ww got the rare chance to go up in the C-17. After catching up with our fuel taker, we watched a midair simulated refueling. You talk about exciting, folks, and what a sense of awe I had. What a sense of reverence I had for people who practice diligently repetitively, and really realize the risks that it takes to protect the citizens of the United States of America. [08:11.0]

My hats off. These folks, train and train, and then they stand at the ready. Pandemic or not, racial strife or not, political unrest or not, our military stands at the ready. I've got a pause and honor all branches of the service. All of you folks who are currently serving or who have served, I honor you on behalf of a grateful nation. It's easy as civilians to take for granted what these brave men and women do on a daily basis.

I mentioned this because I was just taken back by the visit. I left with some significant takeaways, at the top of the list, the reverence, the respect that these airmen show each other and that they show their commanding officers. [09:01.5]

Altus Air Force Base is under the command of Col. Matt Leard. Just to give you an example of what I'm talking about, Col. Leard is the one that's going to introduce me to give my speech, and so we're waiting for that introductory moment. Col. Leard and I are in a hallway and he's about to walk into the room and introduce me.

Now, here's the point. When he stepped into that room, everyone, I mean everyone, snapped at attention, and when he spoke, you could've heard a pin drop. The airmen gave the commanding officer at Altus Air Force Base the highest degree of reverence. Those airmen would never have even remotely thought of disrespecting Col. Leard. While the world shows a disinterested kind of apathy, there are still places where we see respect, like Altus Air Force Base. [10:05.0]

You see, respect is the foundation on which reverence is built. To disobey a command would be a show of a lack of respect. To not acknowledge a commanding officer with honor, that's a lack of respect. I've been thinking if society doesn't show respect to her fellow citizens, how in the world will we ever have dignity for others?

One of my favorite stories is a story that I heard years ago from one of my favorite pastors. His name is Tony Campolo. If you get a chance, listen to Pastor Tony Campolo. He has a sermon titled, “It's Friday, but Sunday's coming.” You will love it. [10:54.0]

At any rate, this story, which has been well chronicled, was first shared with me as I listened to Pastor Tony. It's about a Seattle, Wash.-based retail store. The store is called Nordstrom. Perhaps, if you live in the United States, you've been to a Nordstrom or a Nordstrom Rack. The practice of respecting and honoring customers has resulted in Nordstrom receiving much notoriety and a bestselling book titled The Nordstrom Way.

Here's the story and I hope it grabs you the way that it grabbed me. The story goes like this. A bag lady walks into a Nordstrom on one occasion. She heads to the fancy dress section. She's dirty. Her clothes are filthy. Her socks are rolled down to her ankles. She's holding a raggedy gym bag. Now, it was obvious to everyone who looked upon the situation that the woman was out of place and wasn't about to buy anything. Yet people kept staring and judging, especially two women who position themselves in a place in a store to observe the entire scene. [12:07.4]

Now, picture this. These two women are looking and they're whispering back and forth, but rather than a security guard ushering the bag lady out, a stately looking saleswoman politely asked, “May I help you, ma'am?”

The bad lady said, “Yes, I don't want to buy a dress. I want to buy a party dress.”

The sales lady said, “Ma'am, you've come to the right place. Follow me. We have some of the finest party dresses in all of the world.”

After some time of matching which dress would go best with the woman's complexion, after some time of matching which dress would go best with the woman's eyes.

They were having a lovely time, but abruptly the bag lady said, “You know, I've changed my mind. I don't want to buy a dress today,” to which the sales lady said gently, “That's okay. Here, take one of my cards, and should you come back, I hope you asked for me, it would be a privilege to wait on you again.” [13:11.8]

After the bag lady left, the two women who had positioned themselves to watch the entire episode, they'd had it. They couldn't believe what they had witnessed. They confronted the saleswoman and said, “Why did you do that? You knew that she wasn't going to buy anything. Why would you waste your time and your resources on that woman?”

In a calm and authentic tone, the saleswoman said simply and unwittingly, “Because everyone is worthy of dignity.” Oh, baby. Everyone is worthy of dignity. [13:55.8]

In my head, as a Christian, as a pastor, that is a Christ mindset. That's a mindset that will stop me from judging people. That is a mindset that will encourage me to respect people. Everyone is worthy of dignity. That was the mindset of Roger and Viola Rigsby, two parents that didn't have much, but they gave me and my brother everything.

Friends, let's be careful not to judge and let's be more willing to show reverence. Let's do our part. I said let's do “our” part to restore dignity, to display honor, and to be respectful to all, even those we disagree with. Now is the time to promote unity. Now is the time to promote decency. Now is the time to promote civility. Now is the time to promote respect. [15:03.8]

I want you to think on these things for a few minutes and even allow your mind to reflect over the next couple of days until we meet again. And, friends, when we meet again, it'll be another wonderful opportunity to strengthen our lives, to challenge ourselves to be our best self.

Until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick asking you the most important question that I can ask today. How you livin’?

Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout”, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/FreeGift to get the print or audiobook right now.

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