I remember a bumper sticker from years ago that used to say “God don’t make junk!” I remember it because a) it was true, and b) it was a rusted out car that was up on blocks.

Obviously, the sticker wasn’t referring to the rust bucket. It was talking about people. That car was, trust me on this … JUNK!  I could tell from the missing wheels. I could tell from the rusted holes in the fenders. I could tell from the missing front bumper and cracked windshield. I could tell from the dent in the roof. In fact, the most care this car had seen in its lifetime may have been from the person who pasted that bumper sticker on it in the hopes that passers-by would get the joke. It was easy to evaluate that car on sight. It didn’t matter who made it. It didn’t matter how old it was. It was way too far gone to be of any use to anyone.

This month in our 252 Basics curriculum, we’re talking about RESPECTshowing others they are important by what you say and do. Why is respect so important? At the heart of it, there really is only one reason: “God don’t make junk!” God made people. God loves people. God put some of them in charge.

Of course, people aren’t as easy as cars when it comes to determining their value. There is no “Blue Book Value” for people. But if we’re honest, we find it all to easy to try to assess them based on things like their appearance, performance or intentions to determine who deserves our respect. We want even those who are in authority to earn our respect.

Still, the idea holds true – “God don’t make junk!” In spite of all the reasons we come up with for withholding our respect from certain people, there is no argument when it comes to their Maker. God made them. God loves them.

No one has the ability to demonstrate the principle of respect as clearly as a parent. When a mom or dad demonstrates how to treat others and respect authority, it can make an impression on a child that lasts a lifetime.

This month, when our kids come home talking about THAT teacher that ALWAYS gives too much homework and NEVER explains how to do it … maybe we can react in a way that maintains respect. Or maybe when the person in the drive-thru gets our order wrong, we can still find a way to demonstrate to the entire mini-van that people are more important than chicken nuggets. We can use our words carefully, and measure our actions in a way that reflects a deep understanding that … well, God don’t make junk.

Greg Payne is a multi-talented creative writer for Orange and 252 Basics. He has been married for 17 years, has two daughters and two unnamed dogs. He is a grill and smoke enthusiast, tree house builder, vacation planner, and Mario Brothers competitor. (There’s much more, but we won’t list it all here…)