Monday, August 18, 2008

I Bow And You Curtsey.

Ever heard the above phrase before? If you haven’t, you probably haven’t watched the all-time classic “Sound of music”. If you have or you have watched a similar epic or historical movie, then you would be quite familiar with this phrase, might have even said, and practiced the phrase once or twice. The gentleman bows his head real low with his hand behind his back and the lady bows her knees as she delicately lifts her skirt a bit. This act was, and still is, an act of respect by both parties. This was usually done before a dance. You might want to try it out one of these days!

Are we talking about dancing today? No, we aren’t! We’re talking about manners; about respect. A sign of a true gentleman or a true lady is respect. Show me a person who is respectful and I would show you a person of infallible character. Modernization is threatening to steal our core values in the world (Nigeria not left out), one of which is respect – for elders, tradition, etc but we must not allow it. We are all guilty, and you’ll see why in a moment.

“Who’s that!!!” you scream from your sitting room at a visitor knocking on your door, not caring who it might be… are you guilty?
You sit comfortably at a wedding reception, an elderly woman is standing without a place to sit, and you don’t as much as look in her direction… am I talking about you?
Others are praying in church during service or listening to the sermon but you’re talking about that chic or that match between Arsenal and Man U… you’re feeling the heat, right?

Let’s stop at those three scenarios! You might still be wondering, ‘what’s bad in doing these things?’ That’s another pointer to the fact that you need to learn a little more about respect. Respect, according to the Longman dictionary is “an attitude of regarding something or someone as important so that you are careful not to harm them, treat them rudely etc.”

Did you notice that the definition referred to both ‘something’ and ‘someone’? Now, let’s look at the ‘somethings’ and ‘someones’ you need to respect by being careful not to harm them. Let’s start with the ‘somethings’:

1. YOUR BODY: Oh yes! You NEED to respect your body. Why should you? Because it’s your glory - your identity. God even said He would destroy whoever defiles your body (that includes you!) 1 Corinthians 3:17.
‘But I don’t disrespect my body’ you say. You do! When you eat too much, take too much sugar, take alcohol, cigarettes, you disrespect your body. The list is not over yet… when you don’t wash yourself well, repeat underwear without washing for ‘many’ days, sleep too much, refuse to exercise, you’re invariably disrespecting your body ‘cos your body desperately NEEDS these things to be done properly for it to function optimally.
Above all, you disrespect your body when you allow anyone (whether you love the person or not) to touch you in private places or when you decide to do the touching yourself…hmm… that’s right!!!
And guess what? Your body will respect you by behaving and functioning well when you treat it well. Otherwise, it will disrespect you by embarrassing you with rashes, body odour, sicknesses, too much fat, venereal diseases; that’s just to mention a few.

2. YOUR NATION: Respect for your country is the key to prospering in that country: Nigeria in our own case. These ‘commandments’, if followed, will help you in respecting your country
- Thou shalt not speak negatively about Nigeria but shall rather bless her.
- Thou shalt not squeeze, write on or keep in your ‘unmentionables’ the Naira note.
- Thou shalt not throw anything; pure water nylon, biscuit wrapper, used recharge card or anything at all, on the ground. (Use the next available dustbin; and if there’s none, keep the item till you get home and dispose of it in your bin.)
- Thou shalt not accept or give bribe or cheat your way into ‘success’. (Righteousness is Nigeria’s only hope; please respect that hope!)
- Thou shalt not run away from your country but shalt stay and make it a better place. (So, throw away all your visas; you’re going nowhere…just kidding! Go, if you must, but please come back and contribute to Nigeria’s greatness)

Now, to the ‘someones’:

3. YOUR PEERS: Even your classmates or those younger than you deserve your respect. Friend, you never can tell what they’ll become tomorrow. How you treat them today determines how they would treat you tomorrow.
Being polite when talking to and relating with your mates, and your younger ones at home or juniors in school, doesn’t reduce you in anyway, it rather makes you a better person.
Adding ‘please’ to your requests doesn’t make you grow shorter, does it?
Saying ‘I’m sorry’ can’t make you ugly, can it?
Saying ‘thank you’ has never made your brain duller, has it?
In fact, I’m sure the opposite happened on the different occasions you were polite to your peers and juniors. You felt confident, secure and happy, didn’t you? That’s the secret men!
If you’re wondering why you hardly have friends or why your friends don’t stay, then try the “STAR” formula – Show Them Absolute Respect” this formula never fails.

4. YOUR ELDERS: The first on this list are your parents. You know too well the scripture that tells you to honour you parents IF you want to live long and be successful. Ephesians 6:1-3 That speaks volumes; you don’t need further persuasion, do you? Respect your parents and your life will be beautiful. Love them, support them; don’t shout back at them and pray for them.
Your teachers, or lecturers, deserve respect too. Don’t stab them from behind with your slanderous words, seek their welfare and let them know they are appreciated. That’s the least you can do for these people who are doing all in their power to make you a better person!
Finally, elderly strangers that you meet deserve respect. Wait for them to pass first if you meet at a narrow passageway, stand up for them to sit if they don’t have a seat at a function or in a bus. What is it going to cost you; just a little discomfort… but the blessings you’ll receive for that act will be grand indeed!

5. YOUR GOD: He, Jesus, your Lord and Savior, deserves your utmost respect. The God whose blood was shed for you in a gruesome way and who daily watches over you and blesses you surely deserves every bit of respect you have to offer. If there’s ever a person never to hurt, it’s God!!!
This page would never do to list all the things you should do and not do to show respect to God. But deep within your heart, you know those things you have been doing, saying, thinking, allowing, imagining, that hurt God and spite Him as well.
“…for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” 1 Samuel 2:30. That’s God own word to us, His children. What better honor to seek than the Almighty God’s honor. And the secret to receiving this is honoring Him first. He said He’ll lift up the humble and bring low the proud. Don’t cheat yourself dear friend, do all to please God… and always honor Him in church (no more romantic or football gists when in church service, okay?)
And paradventure you don’t even know this God not to talk of honoring Him or you have disrespected Him so much, either directly or indirectly (calling His name in vain, speaking against the Holy Spirit, or what-have-you), then He’s waiting for you to come to Him in repentance and He WILL forgive you and lift you up because He loves you so much. Please say the love prayer beneath this article.

Dear friend, you have just learnt about respecting your body, your nation, your peers, your elders, and God. Please endeavor to practice what you’ve learnt. Building a respectful character in these areas will definitely make you a person to be admired by all.
Now, let’s do some practice. Please stand up where you are…Oh Yes! Right where you are now, reading this article. Don’t mind if anyone is looking at you. You’re on your feet now, right? Okay! Guys at the count of three, you bow and ladies you curtsey. Are you ready? Take your positions. One ... Two … Three ...

*Timilehin Adigun

Dear God, I have heard about your love and I thank you for loving me in spite of my many sins and weaknesses. I believe, Jesus, that you’re the son of God and that you died and rose again to save me. I repent of my sins and forsake them. I will live to please you as your Holy Spirit helps me. I receive you into my heart and I ask that you make me yours forever. Help me to be your friend and may we love and honor each other for all eternity. Thank you Father for accepting me. I have prayed in Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed this prayer for the first time, please send an e-mail to us at and we’ll be quick to get back to you to stand by you in this new adventure of life.

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