Smallville Torch

Volume 50, Issue 49 | 2001

RESPECT: IT’S NOT EXTINCT

By Pete Ross

The more time I spend around my fellow Crows at Smallville High, the more I notice a big problem that’s been going around. There’s a growing amount of disrespect among students, and it leaves people with negative attitudes by the end of the day.

Growing up and going to high school is hard enough: waking up at six in the morning every day…waiting a half hour for your sister to get finished applying her makeup in the bathroom…sitting through that sleep-inducing Algebra 2 class that makes you yearn to ditch third period for a Beanery run. And then there are Spanish pop quizzes that just sprinkle extra stress on top of everything. As if deciphering the difference between “vosotros” and “nosotros” isn’t difficult enough on the brain, reading three chapters of Great Expectations for English homework only compounds your constant worries about which college you’ll be able to get into. So how would you like it if, after you deal with all of this, someone starts making fun of you because you’re not one of the “cool” kids?

For starters, you’ve gotta remember this: The kids who pick on others are often the ones with the biggest insecurities themselves. The guy who makes fun of someone for being overweight might very well be overweight himself, and he’s trying to take the attention off himself and, somehow, make himself feel “better.” Really confident people don’t care how “nerdy” or “whatever” someone else is. Remember that.

Really what it comes down to is that it all goes in a circle. If you treat someone nicely, chances are they’ll give you the exact same treatment. With people at least trying to be nice to you, that’s one less thing to worry about, so you can focus on that pop quiz or whatever else has you down. The same thing goes for backing up your friends and trusting in what they have to say. If you give them that trust, they’ll trust you right back. If my best friend told me he could fly, I’d believe him. I may laugh at him a little bit, but I’d still believe him. Then perhaps if I said that I was attacked by a fat-sucking vampire or something crazy like that, he too would back me up unconditionally, no matter how ridiculous it may sound.

When you give people a little attention, you might also find that they have a lot in common with you. Some folks are shy. Some seem different on the exterior, but they’re just like you and me. You never know where you might find friends.

So instead of wasting your time and making a fool of yourself by making someone else’s life miserable, try treating someone decently, and then see what happens. You might be pleased with the final result.

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