We live in a time when people do just about anything—even illegal things—to get some respect from others. Don’t get caught up in that game. Respect isn’t something you force others to give. It’s not something you ask for. It’s something that’s given to you in return for the respect you give out. That begins with respecting your elders.
Austin Dennison is a great example. He just graduated Parkway High School in Rockford, Ohio, but before that, he attended his last prom and his decision on who to take for a date gained national attention. As Todd Starnes reported, Austin asked Delores Dennison, his 89-year-old great grandmother, to the big dance.
Austin wasn’t desperate for a prom date. He’s a good-looking kid who’s an accomplished athlete in three sports: football, baseball, and basketball. He also plays music and is an Eagle Scout. But when it came time to prepare for his last prom, he knew he wasn’t going to take the typical route and ask a girl from his school. He called his great grandmother, Delores, instead and asked her. Then he made the night special.
After helping her pick out a new dress and purse, he took her to her favorite spot for dinner before heading to the prom. Once there, Austin introduced her to all his friends and then escorted her onto the dance floor where he had one more surprise. As he took his great grandmother’s hand, the song that his great grandfather used to sing to her began to play: Frank Sinatra’s “Delores.” It was a moment, and a night, neither will forget.
When asked afterward why he did it all, Austin Dennison explained that he has respect for his elders because they have taught him so much throughout his young life. He wanted to do something in return. That’s precisely how we all need to look at respect. It’s not something you ask for. It’s something you earn through your actions toward others. And now, Austin Dennison has earned the respect of millions. It’s absolutely deserved.