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Today I would like to talk about the word RESPECT. For us to get this column in context I would like to start with the definition first: “A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. (2) Due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others. Also, some synonyms: esteem, regard, consideration, thoughtfulness, attentiveness, politeness, and admire.”

The reason I am discussing this issue is because of some recent disrespect that happened recently at the Crossroads softball fields. In a recent article in Dunlap News, the Crossroads Recreation Complex was the scene of vandalism. The article showed pictures where someone or a group of people spray-painted the restroom facilities of the park.

Without going into detail, the graffiti was not nice or pleasant. There was a Nazi symbol in what appeared to be an American flag, plus other pictures and symbols.

In my younger years I have either had girls playing softball at the park or have coached teams at the park. The facility is one of the nicest local facilities for the sport of softball. I know many people from the Whitwell and Crossroads area have put in many hours of work to get the fields in good condition for children to play at.

It is also is a safe place for children to play while their siblings play on the fields. It is an environment where many children as well as parents can become friends.

This graffiti was noticed last Saturday when the valley youth soccer leagues showed up to play their games at the soccer fields located next to the softball complex.

What I think is sad is the total disrespect for those facilities, that someone – or a group of people – would want to spray-paint on the restrooms. I know without doubt that the people of Whitwell and Crossroads are fine people. I also know that they would like to find out who did this, as well.

It is sad in our country today that people do not have any more respect for others' property, and will go to extremes to deface property that people have worked hard to make it a nice place.

We seem to have gotten away from punishing people for their mistakes in life. I hope that the ones that committed this atrocity will be found and forced to either clean the block walls or repaint them.

I remember when I was growing up in Alabama, Governor George Wallace was forced by the federal government to upgrade the prisons of Alabama. Wallace said that he felt that prisons should not be a motel, but a place where people do not want to return.

Now prisoners have central heat and air, television, some have weight rooms, libraries, and they can get a college degree while incarcerated. Now I am not saying that prisoners should be treated with disrespect, but when someone who has committed a crime against humanity is treated better than the person or family of the one offended, well I do have a problem.

I am not saying that the person who spray-painted the facility at Crossroads should go to prison, but they should be held accountable for their actions. Maybe that person needs to do community service for a while.

Either way, I know the people of Crossroads will bounce back and take care of the problem, even if the person or persons are not caught.

There may be a problem that underlies all of this – that respect is something that some are never taught. There are some people in this world who live by the rule that “no one will tell them what to do.” If that is the case, then they live by a law of disrespect for authority in general.

Respect not only applies to our lives in our community, but it goes further into our daily lives. First, we can start at home. Children should be taught, as soon as they can understand things, that they will respect their parents. This is an essential law that has been around since the creation of this earth.

Secondly, think about our friends. We all have many friends that have hobbies or do things that we may not be interested in. That doesn’t mean we dislike them for that, it just means we regard their individuality, we are thoughtful for the things they like, and we support them as a friend. Let me make clear, I am not talking about anything illegal here.

What I mean is, I have friends that like certain sports that I don’t care for, but that is something they like, so I respect that. We all have hobbies, and many of my friends have hobbies that I am just not interested in, either because I can’t do them or I don’t want to, but that still doesn’t mean I don’t respect our friendship.

In order for us to respect the rights and property of others we must first respect ourselves. I have known people who have said and done things and explained that it didn’t matter, they didn’t care what happened to them. Maybe they should.

I guess what I am trying to say is that when we all get down and forget about ourselves and start thinking about others, then we will start seeing another point of view in life and we can begin to respect others.

Do you respect yourself? Do you respect others?