I’ve recently been in a mildly frustrating situation on a weekly basis. Tonight I decided to say something to try to change it, and it wasn’t well-received. Well, it may have been but only time will tell.
After weeks of listening to these women complain, sigh (the worst part), have side-conversations while the leader is talking, and essentially act like middle schoolers (an age group with which I am very experienced), I finally confronted them.
There were two things that kept me from saying something weeks ago: my age (they are at least 30 years older than me) and my time in this organization (less than two months) compared to their tenure. I wasn’t sure that it was my place, even though their disrespect for the leader was frustrating me as they sit right behind me and I could hear every word, every sigh. Their negativity is contagious and I found myself feeling uncomfortable about being happy there.
Tonight, I just couldn’t take it anymore and I turned around to ask them to stop. All I said was, “All I hear you three do is complain.” The ringleader said, “I’ve been in this organization for thirty years so it’s my right to complain. Turn around.”
Had we not been in the middle of the meeting I might have said more.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a part of something – you still have to be respectful. If you don’t respect the leader, then leave. Those who have been there for decades should be an example for those of us who are new, those who will keep things going into the future instead of criticizing everything the leader does.
It doesn’t matter how old you are – respect should be shown to and expected from everyone in an organization such as this. Being older doesn’t mean that you can do as you please. It’s not only disrespectful to the leader, but it’s also disrespectful to those around you. Again, you have the opportunity to be an example – be a good one.
Change is NOT all bad. The leader of this organization is new this year, but he has decades of experience. They don’t like the changes he is bringing (and I hear about every little dislike week after week), but they are good changes. Necessary changes. They aren’t even giving him a chance to prove himself, or to see how these changes play out. They are automatically against it because “this isn’t how we’ve always done things.” That’s my least favorite phrase, by the way. If nothing ever changed, life would be boring. Nothing would ever improve. Change can be GOOD.
I share this experience because these truths are universal. We can all stand to show a little more respect, especially as followers of Jesus. People are watching us, watching how we act and react. Make sure they are seeing Jesus in you at every opportunity.
They didn’t complain for the rest of the evening, so we will see if my simple sentence made an impact. For now, however, I’m resolving to remember to be respectful myself.