Respect is to feel or show esteem for, to honor, or show consideration
Erich Fromm, 20th century psychologist, commented in The Art of Loving: “Respect is not fear and awe; it . . .[is] the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me.”
In The Magic of Encouragement, Stephanie Martson, 20th century family therapist, wrote, “When children are treated with respect, they conclude that they deserve respect and hence develop self-respect. When children are treated with acceptance, they develop self-acceptance; when they are cherished, they conclude that they deserve to be loved, and they develop self-esteem.”
“Respect for others begins with respect for self.” Unknown
“Respect is love in plain clothes.” -Frankie Byrne
“Respect for others begins with respect for self.”
“Wise people appreciate all people for they see the good in each.” –Baltasar Gracian
“Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I must respect the opinions of others even if I disagree with them.” -Herbert Henry Lehman
Read The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle. Have students make a collage about what they like about themselves. Include favorite places, activities, foods, people, talents and skills. Have them write their good character traits, traits they are working on, what other people like about them and what they consider to be their strongest point.
**Talk about respect for the American flag. Encourage children to watch with their families for the courtesy and respect shown to the flag in school assemblies and other public functions.
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was an Irish Antarctic explorer. Shackleton acquired a ship, the Polaris that was specially designed to withstand ice. He renamed her the Endurance. In 1914, with a crew of 27 handpicked from some 5000 applicants, he set out on the Endurance, intending to land on the Antarctic and cross it on foot. In Antarctica’s Wendell Sea, his ship became frozen in the ice. Hopeful that the ice would give way for the ship, they waited months for a thaw. “Optimism,” Shackleton said, “is true moral courage.” Unfortunately the ship was ultimately crushed by heavy pack ice. The crew scavenged 3 life boats, floated for months on an ice flow, then sailed to the barren Elephant Island. There, Shackleton took 5 crew members and in a scavenged boat caulked not with hemp and tar, but with lamp wicks, seal blood and oil paints of the ship’s artist, sailed for two weeks to South Georgia, 800 miles away. Four attempts and 3 months later he rescued his crew from Elephant Island. The men were frostbitten, yet through great personal sacrifice and diligence, he saved every one of his men. Through the greatest diligence, Shackleton had crossed what he called that “thin line that divides success from failure.” Shackleton later wrote that the crew even in “dark days and continuous danger, kept up their spirits and carried out their work.” One of the reasons Shackleton was able to save his men was because of their respect for him. This was a respect that was quietly earned. When Shackleton noticed that a crew member was failing in body or spirit, he ordered refreshment for all, (in order not to single out, worry, or humiliate the under-the-weather man.) A crewmember, Frank Worsley, wrote, “Shackleton’s popularity among those he led was due to the fact that he was not the sort of man who could do only big and spectacular things. When occasion demanded, he would attend personally to the smallest details, and he had unending patience and persistence, which he would apply to all matters concerning the welfare of his men.
True respect is not coerced, it is earned. Said Eldridge Cleaver, “Respect commands itself and it can neither be given nor withheld when it is due.”
“What I Learned About Respect”
Bill Bradley was an NBA Knicks basketball player from 1967 to 1977. He worked in the U.S. Senate, was affiliated with several universities, and wrote a book about his basketball experiences: Values of the Game. In an article in Parade magazine entitled, “What I Learned About Respect,” he writes: “You can’t play on a team with African-Americans for very long and fail to recognize the stupidity of our national obsession with race. The right path is really very simple: Respect your fellow human beings, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your common humanity, share your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger.”
Writing or Discussion Topics
- There is an old saying that says, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” Is this true? How should one respond to name calling, sarcasm, or swearing? Have students write about situations where they have been involved in name-calling and have appropriately solved the problem.
- A Deseret News article written by Marjorie Cortez described a homecoming event. “As student body officers crowned the school’s homecoming court in the school gym Thursday night, [the girl] experienced, well, …inclusion. The 17-year-old senior, born with Down syndrome, was selected by fellow students as homecoming queen.” Her father commented, “It really speaks to the caliber of the kids who go to this school.”
What does respect have to do with courtesy? Does a person’s age make a difference in how you treat them? How do you respectfully treat someone that is different in race, social class, intellectual abilities, etc.?
Talk about the reasons for not being respectful. Young children may enjoy acting in a role play as animals or people such as: Respectful Rhett, Lazy Larry, Hurried Hippo, Forgetful Fish, Ima Impolite, or Proud Pete.
- Your family is picnicking when the wind blows a napkin several yards away. Nobody but you sees the napkin and if you turn your head you won’t see it either. What should you do? What are some others ways to be respectful of our environment? (Obeying nature signs, staying on the trail, not picking the flowers, quietly watching wildlife)
- Your father is home from work, sick. He is resting in the living room. Some friends ask you if they can play. The computer is in the living room and you want to play your new computer game. How can you show respect for your father?
- The park is in the next cul-de-sac. If you walk through Mrs. Jensen’s yard, it will take only 2 minutes to get from your house to the park. If you walk out of your house and stay on the sidewalk, walking around the block, it will take you 15 minutes to reach the park. What does respect have to do with your actions?
- Your friend asks if you like her new shirt. There is not much about it that you like. How can you respond respectfully?
- You find it hard to be friends with Brandon. Brandon is not able to run like the others and keeps tripping over his feet. In class, he doesn’t know how to do his math and he keeps forgetting his spelling words. How can you demonstrate respect toward Brandon?
- Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. Philomel, 1998.
- Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, 1988
- The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills, Little, Brown & Company, 199