They do deserve our respect. My southern, churched background taught me to respect my elders–say no ma’am and yes sir, come as soon as you are called, don’t sass, don’t get in grown folks’ conversations . . .the list can be exhaustive. It is a training on how to be a child and how to grow up into a refined young woman who has been trained well. It was an education that was often accompanied with lessons on how to respect myself. But it was rare that respect was demonstrated to me, and not merely taught. I recognized it as a kindness when someone stopped to look me in my eyes and express a thought or compliment. It made me feel worthy and important, if only for a moment. So, yes. They do deserve our respect. When was the last time you looked a little girl in her eyes?
Photo Credit: Jamaica Gilmer for The Beautiful Project