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Friday, March 23, 2007

To Act or be Acted Upon?

Thrice in these past few days, folks have said to me, with varying degrees of self-justification and even self-righteousness, that they only will give respect to those who in turn give them respect.
Most often, I hear this sentiment from inmates on my prison case management caseload, who tell me that their behavior solely is determined and justified by the behavior of others toward them.
Less frequently, I sometimes hear this from a minority of prison coworkers in regard to how we should respond to inmates.
All of us fall short of our ideals.
Nathless, is not allowing our behavior toward others to be determined by those others foolishness and a surrender of our own power of personal choice?
Do we not only diminish ourselves when we respond in respect only to those who treat us with respect?
Should not our behavior and standards best be self-determined and built only upon a constant foundation of principles which we personally have tried and tested (with lots of anxious and fervent prayer)?
To act or be acted upon?


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