Respect Is Love

Galina hugging Willie

Elena & Yury Hanajenko
Elena & Yury Hanajenko

The Hanajenkos are amazing people. Their daughter Galina celebrated her 20th birthday over the weekend by moving into her own apartment. She’ll never have to read a self-help book to know that respect is love.

Her parents are excellent role models who love, cherish, and respect each other deeply. Their marriage is an equal partnership. Yury is a gentle giant of a man who takes very seriously his duty to protect the women in his life.

Unfortunately, too many American children aren’t as lucky as Galina. Their parents abdicated on their parental responsibility. In some cases, these parents never experienced unconditional love or respect from their parents so they had no legacy to pass on to their children. In other families, abuse of power was drilled into children.

The boys learned a penis was their ticket to entitlement, and their ability to slug someone into submission was proof of their masculine virility. The girls, on the other hand, were conditioned to believe they were nothing without a man.

No wonder so many marriages fail.

Fortunately, the Founding Fathers movement is campaigning to change this paradigm. They are working hard to coach boys on how to be real men like my friend Yury. They are also selling “RESPECT”bracelets at Macy’s to remind both men and women that respect is love.

I’ve been reading Bill Cosby’s Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors in conjunction with Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment.

Respect and responsibility are the common themes of the books. Both books call male people to step up to the plate and be real men. Both books remind us that we need to respect ourselves and to raise our expectations and standards in public and private relationships. Bill Cosby’s book is a great book for parents and those of us who need to re-parent ourselves. Steve Harvey’s book is valuable to those of us who are clueless about men.

I bought his book for Galina because as she starts to date she’ll be meeting players who were reared with a different set of values. I want her to have the wisdom at twenty that I didn’t acquire until I was sixty.

I recommend both books very highly. But, I feel the need to take issue with Mr. Harvey’s subtle suggestion it is women’s fault when men fail to accept responsibility or refuse to grow up. I hope young women reading his book will take off their rose-colored glasses about finding Prince Charming. I hope young women like Galina will consider their options and careers more seriously.

Marriage benefits men tremendously. Women not so much.When I finished Mr. Harvey’s book, I was inspired to dust off my heels and get my mojo going. But, I woke up the next morning and realized I’m single today because I never found a man who was a keeper. It seems to me that women engage in sport fishing too.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, Mr. Harvey uses the analogy of fishing to explain relationships. Some men fish to eat, take their fish home, and make a commitment. Other men enjoy the thrill of the hunt, have fun with the fish, and toss them back into the water.

Respect is love. If someone doesn’t treat you with dignity and respect, walk away. Their behavior has absolutely nothing to do with your worth as a person. It has everything to do with the values instilled in them by their parents. They’re looking for love just like you are. They just haven’t learned yet what real love looks like because nobody taught them properly.

If you wonder how “respect is love” manifests itself in a person’s life, I invite you to visit the delightful blog I am the beholder written by Elizabeth Wiggs Maas, beloved daughter of Susan Wiggs.

One response to “Respect Is Love

  1. Sorry, folks. Moving comments from page to post is a little clunky. These comments were made when this post was on my “Survive, Thrive, Love” page:

    I Am the Beholder Says:

    March 4, 2009 at 8:44 PM e
    Well, yippee skippee! Carolyn linked to The Beholder on her blog. It’s such an honor, because she has a very noble cause to write about: My intent is to […]

    Sol8air Says:

    March 4, 2009 at 10:29 PM e
    This knowlege would have made my young adult life a lot easier for sure. I had great parents, but I was totally unprepared for the attitudes I had to deal with in the outside world.

    Anne Caroline Drake Says:

    March 6, 2009 at 3:34 PM e
    Thanks for your comments and support of my page. You have blessed me.

    My hope is that you will find inspiration and solace here. . .like you both have so generously given me. May you be blessed abundantly!

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