How would you define success? For most, success has something to do with wealth, stuff we accumulate, or fame. Yet, there are different types of success. You can be a rich owner of a company or a wealthy distributer of illegal drugs. You can be a famous movie star or a famous bank robber.

When I was in high school, almost everybody’s parents were pushing their kids to go to college. I don’t think anyone asked, “Why?” If they did, the likely answer was: “to make more money.” That implies that money is what life is all about.

In the book A Nation Reclaims Respect, I have noted that success is often about what I have done for myself. But significance focuses on what I have done for others. Beyond success and significance, there is movement.Movement is about asking: “What have I done that is sustainable and expandable?” Finally, there is legacy, which is about asking: “What have I done that lives on in perpetuity?”

The elements of respect are: love, humility, honor, selflessness, servanthood, grace, kindness, goodness, and acceptance. Being a respectful person goes beyond success. It moves you into the realm of significance, where you impact others for their benefit.

My hope, prayer, and desire—and the reasons I wrote the book—are movement and legacy. Respect isn’t an insignificant fad. To make a real difference in society, your legacy must become sustainable and expandable. A movement for respect changes the climate, one degree at a time.

Restoring respect in a nation has no downside—except for criminals who have a basic worldview challenge. Respect given is respect earned. Respect earned can be multiplied. It rubs off on others.

When you enter a restaurant, what do you do about the person right behind you? You have four choices: 1) go in ahead of them, 2) push the door so they can “catch it” and enter, or 3) hold the door open and let them go first. And then, 4) you say, “Good morning. How are you today?”

Rate those options on the scale of respect. Does that impact others in a positive way? Would that behavior rub off on the other person? If it did—and they started doing it—would their kindness rub off on others you will never meet? You have the power to start a movement!

I call this an apple tree movement. It takes one apple seed to grow a tree. Like most movements, the beginning takes time. The apple tree must mature. Once it does, the tree produces numerous apples—every year! The seeds—perhaps thousands—lay on the ground. New apple trees grow and produce more apples, with more seeds. This is the power of God’s creation.

If you value life, invest yourself in efforts that multiply. Anyone can make money. Significance occurs when you make a difference.

Do you ever pray? Whether it’s part of your lifestyle or not, do it anyway. Pray: “God, give me the vision to be an influence for a more respectful world.” If God answers your prayer, be prepared to become a person you never dreamed you could be. Plant seeds of respect and change the world—one person at a time.

Kent R. Hunter and Tracee J. Swank are church consultants and authors of A Nation Reclaims Respect, available on Amazon.com and ChurchDoctor.org.

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