Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cultivating a Lifestyle of Respect

"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited" (Romans 12:16).

"When Art Rooney Sr. was alive, he lived on the north side of Pittsburg. As the owner of the Steelers, he would walk to the stadium every day, and people always looked out for him and his house, even as the neighborhood got rougher and many others moved out. Mr. Rooney never moved, but he continued to treat everyone the way he always had. Mr. Rooney knew everyone in our organization, from stars like Terry Bradshaw to the bottom-of-the-roster guys like me. He knew the secretaries and cleaning staff by name, and he made it clear that they were all important to the success of the team. Similarly, the people of Pittsburgh knew that he cared about them and their well-being, and that the Steelers were a community trust, cared for by the Rooneys. What he demonstrated day after day at the office, in his neighborhood, and in the larger community of Pittsburgh was an authentic and sincere respect for all those whom his life touched and who touched his life.

"One year, the sanitation workers in Pittsburgh went on strike. As I recall, trash was piling up everywhere around the city except in front of Mr. Rooney's home. As it turns out, some of the workers were picking up his trash on their own. They didn't have to do it. They just wanted to pick up the trash for a man who had always demonstrated a caring interest in them and so many others. A man who had shown them respect.

"True respect starts with the way you treat others, and it is earned over a lifetime of acting with kindness, honor, and dignity" (Tony Dungy, Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance, pp. 177-178).

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