The Power of Respect

I absolutely agree that respect is critical for our society - and each individual within our society - to thrive. It is important for every one of us to think about respect and how we treat others. It was hard for me to give the book only four stars because it focuses on such a critical topic. However, I think "The Power of Respect" by Deborah Norville doesn't do a wonderful job in presenting its case.

One of my issues here is that in several parts of the book the message is presented that beauty = good. The book has a cosmetic dentist (not the most objective of people in this area) saying beauty gives you health. We have Norville herself saying that partners should boast - not about their spouse's kindness or wisdom or loyalty - but about them being handsome or beautiful. I'm very uncomfortable about this focus.

I'm iffy about the alarm cry of "things are getting awful!!!" She herself admits that in 1641 Massachusetts had to pass a law against kids assaulting their parents because it was such a problem. We have countless examples from history that respect has been an issue in the past. Bullying is nothing new. Schoolyard fights were thought of as "boys will be boys." If anything, in modern times we realize these things are not healthy and work to take action.

In the same category falls Norville's horror that nearly half of teens have sex as if this is a new high. Not too long ago, most women were pregnant and having kids in this age group! If anything we should be proud that women how have other options in life and keep working to help them achieve those goals.

For a book that says it's equally about self respect and workplace success, the book is extremely heavy on the kids angle. I don't mind a book addressing parenting - but if it's going to be so focused on that issue, the book should be titled "parenting and respect" and clearly be about that. People who get this book who do NOT have kids in the house will find large portions of the book to be unhelpful. They should know that up front.

Also with the organization being all mixed up, you have to read through chapters on kids, then something helpful, then another chapter on teens, and so on. Again for parents this is fine. For all the non-kids-in-house readers it will be frustrating.

There were stories that simply weren't fully explained. There's a story about a teen sports star but the actual sport is never mentioned, making the story feel vague. There's a story about how positive thinking can affect solving word puzzles but it's never mentioned how it affects it! Does it make it easier? Worse?

Can I really believe the statistic that the average American woman spends 55 min/day looking for things? That seems outrageous to me. That's nearly an hour. Yes I found ONE study that claimed that - and many others that have far lower figures. I bet I can find a study that says most studies have erroneous data in them.

So there's a lot I have issue with in this book. But I still have to agree with the underlying message. We all need to respect each other more. We have to show ourselves respect. Norville reminds us that - whatever we are doing at a given moment - we should be the very best we can be. Focus on the moment.

Eat healthy foods and engage in healthy exercise. Respect yourself and take care of your health so you are there fully for others.

Eliminate people in your world who sap your energy. Make sure the people in your group are supportive and energizing. You'll have enough challenges managing your own world without also trying to support people who pull you down.

I think Norville offers great core information, and many of her stories help support her message. If you have a child currently in your house, then the book will be a great boon in total. If you do NOT have a child currently in your house, then about half of the book will not apply to you. Be prepared for that, and look to use the half that does give you advice. Maybe you can pass the book along to a friend when you're done. In either case, be aware that you'll have to accept some issues with the book along the way. I still feel there's enough good in here to make it worth reading.

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