The Importance of Respect

We all desire respect from the ones we love and anyone else we have a relationship with.
In the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, a group of men was asked the question: If you had to choose between being on a desert island by yourself, trapped, or being in a room with a large amount of people who didn’t respect you–which would you choose?About 74% of men chose the island.

We really crave respect! And the respect of our spouse especially. In fact, we can get through a whole lot of disrespect if we know our spouse has our back.

One of the most frustrating situations I’ve experienced in the last few years was with a viral video. I teach high school physics, and I have a tradition when it comes to the lesson on pressure. I believe that it is important to demonstrate your passion for your subject, as well as help students see its literal, real-life value. So I use a demonstration, one the students don’t easily forget. It involves a bed of nails, an ax, a cinder block, and my body. What could go wrong?

Well, when you are training someone new to help you, a lot. A lot can go wrong.See for yourself:

When this happened in November of 2014, I didn’t think much of it. I had told the students to take a slow motion video so we could analyze it, as always.

Then, in February of 2015, it went viral.

I mean it was all over the place. First Snoop Dog had it on his site. Then it was on the Fast and the Furious site. Then Jimmy Fallon had it as part of his opening monologue when the President’s wife Michelle Obama was on! At first it was fun, but what happened next hurt. Many online critics, people who didn’t know me and clearly didn’t know physics, sites started going on about how unsafe and ‘stupid’ I was for doing it. Now, I have done this very same demonstration more than 130 times over the 30 years of my teaching career. It hurt to hear people using such derogatory language to describe something I’m normally extremely proud of. I love teaching physics, and I know I’m skilled at it. I desperately wanted to explain myself, but of course, virality and the internet don’t work that way. All I could do was let it go and not respond. I understood that survey now: I would definitely have chosen a desert island if that were an option.

But you know what? Sabrina understood. She knows how I am wired. She knows my heart is to reach out to kids and make physics real so the kids can connect in deeper ways.

So she backed me up. She used words of encouragement, respect, acknowledging what I so wanted the world to know, and she lifted up my soul. It helped more than I can even explain. If she respected me for doing what I did, I felt okay about it–even when disrespect was being tossed at me from every direction. Sabrina’s mountain of support and respect pushed all that out of view.

I encourage you to show some extra respect to your spouse today. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

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