Isn’t respect one of our core beliefs for a peaceful and productive society?

Our neighbor is taking on the task of a number of renovation/upgrade projects and, as my experience in such things is greater than theirs, they have chatted with me about various ideas and how to execute them.

I have always preferred the “hands on” learning approach, and so either start a particular task for them and explain the “whys and wherefores” and then let them continue or, in some cases, it is simply quicker and easier for me to just do the complete job (such as hanging a garden gate).

They appreciate the assistance, and I enjoy doing that kind of stuff, so it is a win-win situation with the bonus being a Tim Horton’s coffee and a Boston Cream donut sometimes appearing as a token of appreciation. You can’t beat that!

Reflecting back over the years, there have been occasions when similar gestures were met with negative criticism by the recipients of my donated time. Typically, the work was not done exactly how they expected it. It was not necessarily done incorrectly, but simply that a detail in the recipients vision was omitted.

I have issues with these circumstances because if a person has the ability to do a job, and yet accepts an offer from somebody else to do it as a gesture of friendship, good neighbor, or whatever and at no labor cost, then that person should respect those facts and show appreciation for what was done. Alternatively, they could have simply declined the offer and done it themselves or hired a contractor and paid appropriately. This, to me, is nothing more complicated than basic respect and this unfortunate trait of some individuals has dictated that there are people that I will not help out, simply because the end result will never be right.

I have spent a lot of time trying to understand the mindset that dictates accepting a volunteer offer and (without explaining the finer points of their expectations in advance) then feel they have the right to criticize.

Part of my thinking is that they have every right to be satisfied with the work done.

Part of my thinking is that if a person volunteers to do a specific job , and unless details are specified in advance, then the volunteer should do the job in whatever manner their expertise dictates. The fact that they are “donating” a few hours out of their life, as a simple gesture of assistance surely deserves respect?

Part of the problem is often a lack of vision, or simply an inability to visualize the end result, but this should not give a reason to criticize the final product. Under these circumstances, the problem is with the recipient of the work, and not with the worker!

Respect should be a basic building block of any culture if it is to live in peace.  I guess that just helps to explain our current worldly issues.

Food for thought.


25 thoughts on “Respect!

  1. I can’t imagine criticizing the work of someone who helped you out for free! That shows a complete lack of respect for the volunteer doing the work and an attitude of true entitlement of the person criticizing.

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  2. Some people just naturally think of others instead of themselves. Like when I’m out walking and if I see a day old paper on the driveway, I will pick up and bring to their front porch, so no none knows they are gone. Just the other week when I was gone on vacation, a neighbor called and wanted to know if it was ok to water my front plants as we were having a heat spell. I guess your post is about respect, but it also is about giving instead of always taking. Too many people are in their own world always thinking me me me.

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    • We do seem to be in a very self-focused society. I just feel sorry for those that continue to life’s end like that…. and then reflect back on what they have actually accomplished, other than an accumulation of material things and money!

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  3. I like to help others because it makes me feel good. If bad criticism comes back to me, well then, it’s the last time I help them. There are so many in need, I’ll find someone new. My husband is sought-after in the neighborhood as a plumber. Surely because plumbers can cost more than a doctor visit. 😉 We get all kinds of stuff left at our door after he’s helped a neighbor… it’s like Christmas! Ha ha!

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    • Christmas feelings aside… we were taught our “please and thank yous” very early in our lives. For some reason, those gestures seem to have been forgotten by so many people. As for feeling good? There is a saying in volunteerism that “The giver always gets!” It is so true. It may not necessarily be in tangible things, but rather a good overall feeling of having helped somebody in need, but the “giver” certainly always “gets”! 🙂

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  4. Gee those neighbors/people that you have helped are ingrates. I just can’t comprehend folks that complain when given assistance.

    I’ve given time, fruit, food, a bit of money and my knowledge on a variety of things. I have found that when helping others don’t expect gratitude in return. However, that does not lessen the hurt and bewilderment when folks can’t acknowledge a good deed.

    I don’t have one neighbor who would help me. I am surrounded by the wealthy except for two houses. The folks in the my league (social class) are too busy living their own lives to pay attention to an older person or to ask if there is something that I might need. I pay for everything that is done on my property and right now it needs many things. But that is how life goes and I am grateful for what I have. 🙂

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    • Actually, I don’t expect gratitude (although it is always nice of course), but then I don’t expect my help to be criticized either! You can see why dogs make such great companions/friends! 🙂

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  5. Oh yes, I know where you’re coming from here Colin.
    Both of us are happy to help or do favours for our friends wth no ulterior motive. Hubby recently did a repair job for someone at no cost other than his time and when asked ‘how much’ jokingly replied a pound of sausages. Sure enough, we were given a pound of best bangers the following day.
    My Dad was never one to knock anyone for trying, and was always willing to lend a hand or give a guiding word if asked. One of his favourite sayings was ‘ I wouldn’t have done it quite that way myself, but it works!’

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    • There are people “out there” who just complain about everything. If they found a $20.00 bill/note, they would complain because it wasn’t $50.00. Perhaps these are the same people who annoy me by being so ungrateful!

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  6. Agreed. We also have these lovely neighbours, hotel owners, who sometimes ask for assistance with their website or herb garden (both of which our specialities) and they are very appreciative of our help. In return, their security guards keep an eye on our property at night and occasionally run errands for us.

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  7. I agree. I am always so thankful when a friend or neighbor helps me. My skills are almost non-existent regardless of how many videos I watch or books I read. But back to your premise about respect…it often seems to be lacking in our society. Happy Sunday!

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