Everything in the Serengeti

Hi! I apologize in advance for this discombobulated post. That’s what happens when I only write once a month. Your inability to keep up with today’s post is completely on me due to my lack of consistent writing, my compressed schedule this today ( I really only have 30 minutes), and this is a lot of confusing topics rolled in to one post. Let’s go.

I watched Caitlyn Jenner’s acceptance speech at the ESPY awards recently. She was speaking to transgender and gay youths – but she could have just as easily been speaking about you – and she made the comment “they deserve your respect.” The comment hit me wrong.

It wasn’t the tone of the message or the audience to whom it was directed that struck me wrong or made me uncomfortable. It was the idea that she was promoting, this idea that you ARE therefore you DESERVE. What a dangerous mindset.

I’ve spent a little time since the speech making a list of everything that I think that you and I deserve, just because we woke up this morning. Here it is:


Did I miss anything?

2 Thessalonians 3:10 says “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Perhaps it is Southern Baptist influence in my life, perhaps it’s parents who taught me that everything, including respect and the consequences for your decisions, is earned…not deserved. I never received an allowance because I woke up every morning. I got an allowance because I swept the basement, cleaned my room, made my bed every morning, took out the trash, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves – and honestly, after I was old enough to push a lawn mower and carry a rake around the neighborhood and earn some cash doing yard work for other people, I don’t remember receiving a regular allowance from my parents. That’s a whole other post about parenting and money, but it instilled in me the belief that, if I want something, I have to earn it.

If I want to have a good day at work, that’s on me. It’s not my employer’s responsibility.

My kids’ respect and admiration, I have to earn that. And re-earn it after I act like an idiot.

My wife’s love? Sure, she pledged that to me, but I don’t wake up in the morning and deserve it.

An account executive that I worked with about 15 years ago would always answer the “how are you” question the same way. He always said, “Man, I woke up in the Serengeti.”

You may have heard this at a sales meeting or read it in a book, it’s certainly not a Jammy original, I just don’t know who came up with the story to give them credit for it. In the Serengeti, everything wakes up running. Some run in order to eat – to capture something, kill it, and drag it under a tree – and some run to NOT be eaten. But everything wakes up running. Everything wakes up working toward a goal; to eat or to not be eaten. That’s what makes Caitlyn Jenner’s message so dangerous. This idea that you woke up and you’re so fabulous that you automatically deserve respect – or anything else – is just a belief that is setting you up for disappointment.

Let me be clear, and I’m talking to you – YOU – your automatic disrespect of someone that you do not know, that you have not taken the opportunity to meet, to listen to, to learn from, that says more about you than it does them. No one deserves your unqualified disrespect…that, too, is earned.

I’m out of time this morning. I told you that it would be a disjointed compilation of ideas, but I’ll try to sum it up in three words for you; earn it today.

Go and be kind. Thanks for stopping by.

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