My Java Journal

On Respect: Growth Through Reciprocity

After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box. – Italian Proverb.

I found this proverb extremely insightful when, previously, I was in leadership roles. It affirmed for me that regardless of any hierarchy that might exist, and regardless your place therein, respect is a necessary facet in the relationships that do exist. In chess, as in life, we each have our role to play. In the end though, we all end up in the same place. I was reminded of this again this week. This week I bid farewell to a supervisor of mine who is moving on in his life.

Half my age, this supervisor is a good person. He worked hard and took his role seriously; he is an exceptional talent in the art and craft of customer service. However, there always remains room for growth and maturity; which I firmly believe is true for each of us.

During our tenure together he was receptive, and even sought advice on certain items. It was a relationship that we both grew from, and one where he articulated gratitude often when I provided him advice. I was cautious with how I offered advice, but I did nudge him occasionally. It was an an excellent working relationship. One of respect, and even friendship.

It’s easy in the autumn of one’s life to think you have wise words or knowledge to offer younger generations. Sharing the wisdom one feels one has, I think, is an important part of the human experience. I think also though, that it might be wiser to remember that listening (and continuing to learn) is often the more sage approach.

The youth one finds oneself engaged with certainly have much to offer. Relationships I believe, need to be reciprocal in nature; we just need to remember that each of us has something to give, but that if we are open, we can likely be better off to try to learn from our peers. Relationships are best nurtured when both parties can find growth; one only need remain humble, and remember to listen. None of us are better than the other. Each of us have different experiences and are at different stages, and with different circumstances in our lives.

Now, this is different than the relationship one has with one’s children. A parent-child relationship can certainly be one of reciprocal growth, but an authoritative aspect exists. Interestingly though, I believe that my ability to parent has been improved by the insights I have been exposed to through my relationships with my younger peer group.

Ostensibly, each generation thinks they are the best; having gone through the hardest times and having had the most influence. I’m okay with that. Remember, each generation has its shit to deal with; and one of the things that each needs to deal with is the generations that came before them (and then the ones that come after them). In the end we end up in the same box.

At this point I had originally listed some lessons I learned about myself, about the world and society, and about my current stage of life; that is, raising teenagers.

Instead I think I am going to simply articulate gratitude for the experience and knowledge gained from this amazing year of growth; a year that benefited very much from this respectful relationship with a boss half my age.

If you, and you know who you are, are reading this, I thank you. I wish you all the best and know you will succeed. Just remember to be kind, show (and expect) respect, and to be grateful. It makes for a richer life.

Before I sign off, I will also throw out into cyberspace my gratitude for all the amazing people I have had the fortune to work with; in my previous military life, and in my current jobs and endeavours. I cannot express appropriately my gratitude for the feeling of acceptance, inclusion, respect and love that I feel.

Thank you.

Happy Sunday. Now, get outside.

Be kind, be respectful, be grateful.