By Cora Bishoppetty
On April 11, 2020

Cora Bishoppetty, photographer


The majority of us have heard the phrase, “respect others and you’ll get respect in return,” sometime in our life. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been thinking about this phrase a lot. My attention was drawn to this concept while listening to Aretha Franklin’s song, “Respect.”

I was driving in my car, headed to my cooperating teacher’s house (I’m an education major currently student teaching), and there were barely any people on the road due to the pandemic. For some reason, I had the song stuck in my head so I told Siri to play it to prevent it from being stuck in my head for the rest of the day. That led me to thinking about a conversation I had with someone about respect. I remember that person saying to me, “give me respect, then I’ll show you respect in return.” At the time I didn’t give it too much thought, but in that moment of jamming to Aretha Franklin, it suddenly dawned on me that that phrase is the opposite of what it should be.

I had this realization when reflecting on what happened a few hours earlier when I was in my apartment’s office. Now, let me mention that the only people I’ve been in contact with the last three weeks are my roommates and my cooperating teacher. I walked into the office to get my package before heading to my cooperating teacher’s house. I grabbed my package from the multiple packages laid out on the ground (they’re trying to avoid any unnecessary contact), and the office worker marked that I received it. Before heading out I asked him how he was holding up and if they have been busy at all. When I asked that, he looked kind of taken aback that I even asked him how he was doing. After our pleasant conversation, I went back to my car, and it hit me. I doubt many people have asked him how he’s been, and also I realized how happy I was too that I had a conversation with another person. 

That small interaction popped into my head during my jam session. Respect is about being empathetic towards others as well as creating a connection with others. If you are not able to be empathetic towards others then it is going to be hard for you to receive the respect you are seeking. You can seek respect, but it has to start with you. From there a chain reaction starts. 

Respect isn’t something that is gained with a snap of your fingers. It is, sadly, not something you should expect all the time. Regardless of that though, you should always show respect towards others. That is what I truly believe. Ever since COVID-19 reached the United States, I’ve noticed that people haven’t been as nice or respectful towards each other. We were put on this Earth to love one another, not hate and disrespect others. I understand how stressful times are, trust me. However, just because we are not in an ideal situation doesn’t mean we can throw kindness out the window. We are in this together.  

When you are respectful towards others, no matter what you get in return, then you’re not only creating a better environment for others but for yourself as well. So, 2020 is the time for us to connect in new ways that we never thought possible. In order for us to become more connected in this time of isolation, it is important to be more humble, kind, selfless and respectful of others no matter the situation.

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