R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me!
Respect is one of the Six Pillars of Character. To me this is probably the most pivotal because if you respect yourself, then you will respect others, and you will most likely display all the other pillars just by virtue of being respectful! So here is what Respect means according to the Josephson Institute:
“People are not things, and everyone has a right to be treated with dignity. We certainly have no ethical duty to hold all people in high esteem, but we should treat everyone with respect, regardless of who they are and what they have done. We have a responsibility to be the best we can be in all situations, even when dealing with unpleasant people.
The Golden Rule — do unto others as you would have them do unto you — nicely illustrates the Pillar of respect. Respect prohibits violence, humiliation, manipulation and exploitation. It reflects notions such as civility, courtesy, decency, dignity, autonomy, tolerance and acceptance.” http://josephsoninstitute.org/MED/MED-2sixpillars.html
For kids this means that they behave pretty much like they would anyway, by accepting people as they are, not judging them by pre-conceived notions. Kids are so great at doing this! If you have ever been able to observe in the classroom or on the playground while kids played or worked, you have probably seen how they mostly accept what is told to them, accept who is in their group, accept others’ abilities. This is a kind of respect for their peers and for their teachers and coachies. They may not always like it, but they accept without much resistance.
It is our job to reinforce this concept and help our children to refine it as they mature. I have often told my kids that they may not like a certain situation but they have to learn to deal with it. I am certain many of you have spoken the same words to your own children. Because when we grow up and enter the work world, we all know there are many situations that we don’t enjoy but we have to cope with. If our kids learn that respect is about tolerance and courtesy, they will have a much better chance at maneuvering through life successfully. Did you know that good social skills and the ability to work well with others are significant factors in determining later success in work life? Hmmm, one of those clichés from the book, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten,” but so universally true. Maybe “plays well with others” translates into something more meaningful than we ever imagined.
If you would like to get more involved with character education at Lowell, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.