Wow, can’t believe that the first week of 2013 has come and gone! Time really seems to be flying.
At the end of last year I promised myself that I would make a note for every day of this year to remind we what I did on each day. That way I can at least go back to notes when memory fails me and I am inevitably struck with that “what did I do with my time this week / month / year”. So far so good!
So what seems to be the hottest topic of discussion at the moment? Without a shadow of a doubt, it would be the death toll on our roads over the festive period. The untimely and unnecessary passing of Burry Stander made him, to me at least, the face of SA’s deadliest season on the road.
My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones. Watching his wife speak on TV News gave me a huge amount respect for her and the rest of the family. Standing up in the face of this horrible situation takes a whole lot of courage and for that they should be commended!
Someone today drew a shocking comparison: 1500 people dead on our roads in the past month equates to 5, yes 5, Boeing 747’s crashing! If we had to have 5 of these crashes in a month, governments across the globe would halt air traffic and leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the problem. Yet, every day people carry on doing what they do. Parents leave kids if they don’t want to wear safety belts, just to avoid a tantrum. Drunken drivers keep driving, because our courts are too full and when they eventually appear, give a weak excuse and walk off with a warning! We require drastic action! No more speeding fines, fines for reckless driving, drunken driving and the like. Give traffic officials the right to revoke licenses, give the offenders community service to work with paramedic crews and accident scene clean up crews. Do something, anything! We are way beyond the point where talking and reprimanding and TV ads are going to work. Obviously these guys don’t give a damn whether “Pappa is waiting” in prison. They are above that. They are untouchable!
What is the real problem here? For me it goes much further than merely a traffic offense or a mugging. The problem with traffic offenders, rapists, murderers and society in general lies in a matter of a lack of respect.
I think the definition for these terms (respect and self respect) need to be revisited by all of us. What does respect mean to you? Here are the definitions given by http://www.thefreedictionary.com
tr.v. re·spect·ed, re·spect·ing, re·spects
1. To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.
2. To avoid violation of or interference with: respect the speed limit.
3. To relate or refer to; concern.
1. A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem. See Synonyms at regard.
2. The state of being regarded with honor or esteem.
3. Willingness to show consideration or appreciation.
4. respects Polite expressions of consideration or deference: pay one’s respects.
5. A particular aspect, feature, or detail: In many respects this is an important decision.
6. Usage Problem Relation; reference. See Usage Note at regard.
[From Middle English, regard, from Old French, from Latin respectus, from past participle of respicere, to look back at, regard : re-, re- + specere, to look at; see spek- in Indo-European roots.]
Due respect for oneself, one’s character, and one’s conduct.
Now, I may be wrong here, and please feel free to comment, the problem with society in general is nothing other than a complete and utter disrespect.
Disrespect for self, disrespect for others.
I’ve breached the topic of respect with a number of people in the past and the most shockingly the majority of them are of the view that:
A) Respect is earned not given
B) As long as I respect myself others don’t matter! What!?! I think you are misjudging self respect for your bloated ego!
If I respect myself and others I will not have unprotected sex and fall pregnant / give or receive some unwanted disease.
If I respect others I will not get drunk and then further inflate my ego by insisting that I can get everyone home safely.
If I resect myself and others I will not speed to get to that appointment that I’m late for, I will get my arse out off bed earlier.
The list goes on and on.
The problem is that we are so engulfed in ego that our vision of everything around us, human, animal and nature alike, is so blurred that we can’t really see.
Where does this overly inflated ego come from then? Well it goes back to the way we were brought up and this, my friends, is the point where I want to tear out my hair and scream Wake Up!!!!!
In 10 to 15 years from now we are faced with a catastrophic problem!
We are raising a generation of “takers”. We are raising our kids with an unhealthy sense of entitlement.
We are raising our kids to believe that we shouldn’t speed (unless mommy is late for her appointment). We shouldn’t drink and drive (unless daddy needs to take us home after we spent the day at a friends house to braai and watch the game). We shouldn’t take something that doesn’t necessarily belong to us (unless its a parking spot at the mall and we’ve been driving around for 10 minutes and who does he think he is to cut in front off me!). We shouldn’t lie and cheat and kill (unless your name is Gita on a family show).
I’m sure you get the picture.
It really is time that each and every one of us take a long, hard look at ourselves and how we treat everyone and every situation.
Let’s start to raise a generation of “givers” instead.
Maybe, just maybe, in doing so we can start to make a difference and look forward to a festive season instead of a period of grief.