Coming from a Filipino family, my parents taught me to use “po” and “opo” every time I will be talking to elders and of course, to never dare to talk back— constantly telling me that these show respect. In addition, my former teachers would also repeat to me that I should always respect my elders. Since I was too young then and still incapable of thinking thoroughly, I used to believe that was the right thing to do. It was a good thing I realized it is not. Do not get me wrong. I value the word respect a lot that I see it as if it is something sacred. Respect for me is the third most precious, priceless gift a person could possibly give to someone (no matter what their age is), next to love and time. Therefore for me, earning one’s respect is a privilege.
A privilege that should only be granted to those people who truly deserve them; a privilege that could only be gained if one has done an act worthy of praise and admiration. Unfortunately, many Filipinos think of respect as something that it is mandatory to give to anyone who is older than them. But does it feel right showing respect to people you have seen doing unjust things to others only because they are older? Because in my case, it surely gives me a nausea when I am expected to greet a teacher “Good morning!” when I already heard her telling snide remarks to one of her students before. I also disrespect people who are in position but clearly have no idea of what their job is about and what they should be doing.
I have encountered a number of secretaries or persons in authority who would converse with me on formal matters and would speak to and address me as if I was just their high school friend, their little sister, and the worst of all, was one of their maids. As persons in authority who are engaged to talking to people every day, they should be mindful enough of how they would treat their clients. No matter how high one’s position is, I would never respect him if he acts like an uneducated person who is rude, arrogant, and impolite. And if in case he gets hurt by my usual disrespectful acts—being frank and straight-forward of my thoughts—I would never apologize, because he needs to know that what he was doing with his clients is wrong, and someone has to point it out to him, no matter how harsh it may sound.
Lastly, I disrespect them because they are not always right and they could be corrected. Being older does not mean one is already more intelligent, although they could be wiser due to their experiences, but still there is a possibility that some of today’s generation is smarter than of their parents’ generation. So I believe that letting the elders do away with their wrong philosophies in life would do no good to any side of the parties. I believe that having the courage to disrespect my elders does not only mean that I could step up for myself and express my opinion on what I think is right, but also it could help the elders to think and reflect more on their views of things, which for me is a good thing.
To sum everything up, all I want to say is: the reason why I love disrespecting older people is because I care for them. I want them to become better individuals for themselves and for the people they are interacting with every day in their own personal lives. All that for the hope that someday, everyone would become aware of how they affect their community and see their mistakes and realize what they must do to become better citizens of this country.