Saturday, August 31, 2013

Seven Gifts-MANAADJITOWAAWIN (Respect)

The third Grandfather offered the gift of MANAADJITOWAAWIN (Respect), so that he would give respect to everyone, all human beings and all things created.

The term “Respect” is used liberally in “Indian Country.” From early on we are taught to respect our elders, respect the earth, respect our parents….but what does it mean to have respect?

Is it positional? You have to respect me because I am important!

Is it earned? Because of an act of bravery, kindness etc. we respect someone for what they have done.

Is it relational? We respect another person because we know and like them.

Is it unconditional? We respect another because we all need to coexistence on Mother Earth.

While we “talk the talk” about respect, do we really “walk the talk” when it comes to respect? Too often we pick and choose who or what we will respect, placing conditions on this gift handed to us by the Grandfathers so that we could live in peace and harmony.

Respect begins with me. I need to respect myself first! I cannot show respect to others if I do not respect myself. Just as we care for Mother Earth, we need to care for these vessels that carry our spirit. That means balancing mind, body, spirit and emotion. When we respect ourselves, then respecting all human beings and all things created become second nature.

One final thought-if you need to go around and demand respect, you have neither earned it nor deserve it.

This week make a conscious effort to respect the world we live in by doing something as simple as picking up litter, respect our elders by visiting a shut in and listening to their stories and respect other people by showing kindness instead of malice.

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