Respect – A Way of Life

As you grow older and move out more into the world, you will meet many different people. We live in a very diverse society and if you have learned to respect others, then you will be able to fit in well within society.

Respect has several meanings:

  •   Having regard for others. That means accepting that other people are different but just as important as you feel you are. Some people may call this tolerance.
  •   Having a proper respect for yourself. That means that you stand up for yourself and not let yourself be talked into doing stuff that you know is wrong or make you feel uncomfortable.
  •   Not interfering with others or their property.
  •   To consider something worthy of high regard. That really means taking all those other values and living them.

Home is the place where you first learn about respect. At home, you learn:

  •   about using good manners, like saying please and thank you or knock before entering.
  •   to share things like food, toys and games with other people in your family.
  •   to look after your own things and take care of other things in the house (not jumping on furniture or wiping your feet, so that a house is a good place for everyone to be)
  •   to wait for your turn in talking.
  •   to listen.
  •   to understand that you will not always get what you want.
  •   to respect others by helping with chores and not letting the family down.
  •   to respect others in the community where you live.
  •   how to talk to different adults in a way they expect to be spoken to, like grandma and her friends may not like to be called by their first name.

When you go to school, you will have to learn some different ways to respect others and yourself.

In school:

  •   You will learn how to be a member of a class.
  •   You will learn how to behave with teachers and other school stuff.
  •   You will learn to respect and keep school rules, which help to make your school a safe and caring place for everyone.
  •   You will learn to respect the property of the school and classmates.
  •   You will meet with people from different backgrounds, maybe different religions, cultures, and countries.
  •   Some people will look very different or will behave very differently to you and your family. You can respect their differences and expect that they will respect yours.

If people are behaving badly towards you and hurting you or your feelings, then you cannot, and must not, respect their unkind behavior and of course, you will not behave in an unkind way towards others, including spreading nasty rumors or gossip. Bullying and harassment should never be tolerated.

Learning to respect yourself is probably harder than earning respect from others. If you aim to be an honest, caring person who accepts that everyone is different, always tries hard and is willing to share and help others, then living up to your aims can be very difficult.

Do not give yourself a hard time if you sometimes make mistakes, because we learn from mistakes.

Earning respect from others is easy if you live by the values we talked about at the beginning of this topic. People will soon know that you are the kind of person who can be trusted to do the right thing, behave in a caring way and respect others’ rights to be himself or herself.