Guest Column: Respect

Trent Nielsen

Trent Nielsen, Hennessey Valley Funeral Home & Crematory in Spokane Valley.

My wife and I have five children ages 8 and under. As parents, we often consider what we are teaching our children. One evening while we sat at the dinner table trying to begin our meal, most of our kids were misbehaving. We then discussed respect, specifically about respecting these three- the person, the time, and the place.  I’d like to explore these with you today.

Respecting the person

Every person deserves respect regardless of perceived differences.

Self-respect comes first. We show respect to ourselves in many ways. We can properly nourish our bodies and eliminate unhealthy habits. Being kind and forgiving to ourselves when we make mistakes can help us recognize our self-worth. Know that you matter, and your value is not derived by the opinions of others.

Just as you should respect yourself, remember that others deserve the same. Each person has the right to think and act for themselves. You can respect their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, even when they don’t respect yours.

Respecting the time

Most of us have heard the wisdom from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 (or the song by The Byrds) about there being a time for everything:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

We must show proper respect for the time that we’re in. If it is a time to have fun – have fun! If it is a time to sleep – sleep! If it is a time for reverence – show reverence.

We sometimes don’t feel like behaving according to the time that we are in. But all we must do is remember that, just like the seasons change, the time will come for other things. Although we might be in mourning now, there will be a time to dance later. In the meantime, let’s show proper respect for the ‘now’.

Respecting the place

It is crucial that we show respect for the place in which we are. I think we’ve all had the librarian glare at us a time or two when we forgot to keep our voices down in the library. Perhaps you’ve seen the heads turn when your phone rings in a meeting. Sacred spaces like churches, synagogues, temples, and cemeteries require our respect and reverence. Let us all remember where we are and allow those places the appropriate level of respect.

So, as we consider the people in our lives, the times and seasons we’re in, and where we find ourselves, let us show respect for each. As we do so, I promise we’ll gain more from those moments and from life itself.

Trent Nielsen is the Managing Partner of Hennessey Valley Funeral Home & Crematory in Spokane Valley. He has been in the funeral profession since 2003, serving families in both Eastern and Western Washington. Trent and his family live, work, and attend church in Spokane Valley and enjoy being a part of this community.