Respect is a wonderful thing whether shown through personalities or cultures.
The next time you go to collect a Chinese takeaway try passing the cash or card over the counter with both hands.
If you do not know to do this you will be very surprised to see the person behind the counter take it also with both hands.
This is a cultural thing, showing that you have worked for this money and therefore wish to pass it over almost as a presentation of your achievements.
The taking of the cash in the same way is showing respect for exactly these same reasons (and I will pretty much guarantee you’ll get a surprised smile with it too).
These acts of respect are shown throughout the world:
Taking your shoes off when entering a mosque.
Not swearing in front of children.
Table manners, and so on…
The Japanese have a saying:
‘You should respect your elders but have compassion for younger’s’
This is to basically remind us that this is a two-way thing.
Forced respect is false respect.
Respect is the easiest thing to offer and the greatest thing to receive
‘Do I really need to call my teacher, Sifu?’
Sifu means teacher/Father and is used as a way of showing respect.
In my opinion when a student makes the effort to not refer to me as Sifu (Providing I am actually their teacher that is) then I take this as a sign of dis-respect.
The reason for this is so:
When you were at school, there’s no way you’d be allowed to refer to the teacher on first name terms, either in school or out, and not just because you were a child but because you were learning respect.
And what if you went to the hospital?
Here you are, face to face with a person you have maybe never met before or even seen their face before, and yet the first name that comes out of your mouth is Doctor!
If a student asks me why this should matter, I would simply remind them that using the term Sifu is a way of showing respect, of course you do not need to use it, BUT do remember this, if you do not respect me as a teacher, do not expect me to respect you as a student.
“But what if we’re outside?” they say, “At a social event perhaps?”
To me the first thing that springs to mind is how bizarrely inappropriate and disrespectful it would be for to go for dinner with ‘My’ Sifu, only to then call across the table, “Oi, Chun, what do you fancy to eat?”
The way I look at this is to ask them:
“What do they call your Father?”
‘Peter’, they may say.
“And what do YOU call him”
‘Father’ they usually reply.
“Yes but what if you are outside, at a social perhaps?”
Often the penny drops at this point, because going back to the original meaning of Sifu, if this person is your Sifu in class, then they are still your Sifu when you go out.
Could you imagine being ‘outside, at a social event perhaps’ and there being a situation between you and a rowdy drunk.
How would you feel if your ‘Sifu’ did nothing to assist, and only said,
‘Well it’s nothing to do with me, we’re not in the classroom now’.
You’d be looking for a new teacher straight away I imagine.
So respect is a good thing but it is also a two-way thing.
Do not take it for granted
and in order to earn it, you must first show it.