In the Comments section of my preceding post, my readers raised some interesting points about respect. Should students respect teachers, simply because teachers are teachers and students are students? Also, should children respect parents, simply because parents are parents and children are children?
Sleepless in Singapore wrote:
- "I have no experience as a teacher, but I do conduct a lot of training for adults. In recent years, I have had opportunity to train professionals from neighbouring Asean countries. I find that their attitude towards the trainer is so respectful and appreciative. I really enjoy teaching them and am motivated to go the extra mile even though the fee I get from them is much lower.
Singaporeans, on the other hand tend to treat trainers like other service providers like waiters, or taxi drivers. If you read Br BL Ogs, blog, you will see that they treat doctors in much the same way.
In conclusion, I think this is an unhealthy trend. If principals don't do something about it, they are not doing their jobs. And you parents out there, if you do not do something about it, the next blog you read could be about what a rotten dad or mum you are."
- To INTJs, authority based on position, rank, title, or publication has absolutely no force. This type is not likely to succumb to the magic of slogans, watchwords, or shibboleths. If an idea or position makes sense to an INTJ, it will be adopted; if it doesn't, it won't, regardless of who took the position or generated the idea. As with the INTP, authority per se does not impress the INTJ.
In other words, Mr Wang is unable to respect a teacher for being a teacher. Mr Wang is only able to respect teachers for teaching well. This is a notorious Mr Wang characteristic which generally defines his relationships with people all arouind him.
In Mr Wang's ideal world, the same would apply in schools. Teachers would not be respected simply by virtue of their status as teachers. Respect has to be earned. Bad teachers deserve no respect simply by virtue of their status as teachers.
And frankly, I do not think that I am placing very high standards on teachers. The average teacher is older than his young charges; he is therefore much more experienced; he has been educated to a higher level; he ought to know his subject far better than his student; he has received professional training for his job; he should be a mature person. He should be able to teach well enough to earn his students' respect.
And what about parents and children? Sleepless wrote:
- And you parents out there, if you do not do something about it, the next blog you read could be about what a rotten dad or mum you are.
If you accidentally stumble across your child's blog where he writes that you are a rotten dad or mum, then you should treat this as a wake-up call. You should even consider yourself lucky. You've just got a chance to look straight into your child's mind. You are being confronted with your child's genuine opinion about you. It may not be pleasant, but it is genuine.
There is no point in saying, "How dare you write this, you insolent child!" and then proceed to punish the child. Instead you should take time out to reflect on what has caused your child to feel this way about it. If there is something rotten about you, then you should fix yourself. If there is a breakdown in the communication between yourself and the child, then that is what you need to fix.
Mr Wang is a parent too. He has two young children. The younger one is too young to have too many opinions. But the older one is precocious and has opinions about everything under the sun (sigh, so much like his father). I encourage him to have opinions, to express views, to say what he likes and does not like. It is never too early to start teaching your children to think for themselves.
If a young child misbehaves, it is the easiest thing in the world to shout and yell and pull out a cane and intimidate the child into submission - but is that right? Is that really "respect"? I don't think so. You have to look at the root cause of the misbehaviour. Often it will at least be partially due to your own failings as a parent - for example, the child may be misbehaving to get your attention because you just haven't been giving him enough. In the end, parents should earn their children's respect through their own behaviour - parents must conduct themselves in such a way that their children look up to them.
Does Mr Wang always live up to his own professed standards? Alas, no. Mr Wang is an imperfect father. There have been occasions when Mr Wang lost his temper and treated his children (especially the mischevious older one) in ways that he later regretted. But Mr Wang will always strive to be a better father. That is his duty, and the duty of all the daddies in the world. Daddies will never quite reach perfection, but that's no reason not to strive for it.