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Where Is Deference—What Is It?

This character trait has been lost. What is deference? What does it mean? Deference means that you give up or limit some of your freedom so as not to offend someone else. Let me give a few examples and you’ll see what I mean:

There was a time when people were horrified to hear profanity spoken in front of parents or children. Now it is everywhere. You can’t watch a movie or TV show without it. Is our vocabulary that limited?

People used to dress modestly. Women covered their shoulders when going out in public. Men wore belts to keep their pants up. My goodness, people used to wear suits and ties to baseball games back in the 60’s. Tell me that wasn’t a hot mess! There was a sense of pride in looking your best and dressing nice, even if it was inconvenient. No one would have thought about wearing jeans to work or church!

There was no talking back to parents or people in authority. A good backhand across the head or the taste of soap in your mouth only had to be administered once as a reminder of the consequence of backtalk or profanity.

The opposite of deference is rudeness. —There is enough of that going on in the world today, isn’t there? People cutting people off in traffic is just one example. —Do I really need to hear and feel the music coming from your car?

But, let’s try to stay positive on this topic. I feel for this generation because I wonder what their future holds. Things seem out of control. What will my kids and grandkids have to deal with or endure? As a child, I remember hearing older adults sitting around talking about these same things. Am I old or are things getting progressively worse? Both!

I want to find a solution. I like solving problems. I want to make a difference, so I started thinking about coming at this from the perspective of Mother Teresa or Mister Rogers. How would they handle this? So here’s what I came up with:

1). If it’s going to be, it starts with me. I’m the leader. I’m the influencer. I will do my part for myself, my children and grandchildren.

2). I will speak up and let my family and those in my circle of influence to know that we all need to do better because the consequences of doing nothing are too great.

3). I will practice deference in my home and at work. How can I care about the feelings of others by not offending them and showing care and concern for them?

“Every action in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those present.

George Washington

This is a free country, that is true. We seem to be fighting for our freedoms in one sense or another today. But giving up a small bit of freedom or limiting it so as not to offend people is what deference is all about.

If we are unwilling to care for the feelings of others, where will that leave us as a people? Are we not the people of God? Do we not still follow the first two commandments: to love God and our neighbors? I believe in love. I believe that it conquers all.

I think the solution to all of these problems is practicing deference. Get back to loving our neighbor. Let us get back to showing love and respect for the feelings of others. Will you join me?

God bless.—Barb


Wife, mother, church secretary, seamstress, child of God.

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