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Showing respect in school

greetingThe one thing that brings the greatest amount of angst or embarrassment to a parent is when their child shows a lack of respect in a public place – where others are able to observe the behavior.  Disrespect can be shown in many different ways in different forums – really by anyone.  Lets talk about showing respect in our community starting with school.

How do we show respect when we are in school?  It may begin with how we treat the teachers, classmates and even the support personnel in the school.  Of course we expect that our children demonstrate respectful behavior towards the teacher.  What does that look like?  Following the directions given, doing work quietly without disruption to the class.  It may also include see what additional help we might be able to give the teacher – running errands, cleaning up after ourselves and others, speaking to them as if we value their efforts.  As a side note if teachers would like to have respect shown towards them, then they also must show this same respect to the class, by being well prepared, addressing them without sarcasm, providing their expectations in a clear and reasonable manner.

What about our classmates?  How do we show respect for them?  When they are answering a question are we listening closely or are we wildly shaking our hand in the air because we want to talk.  Respectful behavior would be to put our hand down and listen in a manner that shows that we value what they have to say (even if it is not the “correct” answer).

When taking a quiz or test, being sure that we answer our own questions and not be looking to others to help us on a test (cheating).  Being fair to others is a way of showing respect.  This is true even on the playground or in the cafeteria.  Respect can be shown by being kind to each other, even if they are not a part of our closest acquaintances.

Continuing this thought about school – are we careful with the equipment in the classroom?  Treating books, the media room equipment, the chairs and desks with the utmost care, knowing that others need to have use of this equipment is a way of showing respect for the property that does not belong to us, but that we have been invited to use while we are in the classroom.

This sort of culture in the classroom and school really begins by working on this at home and reemphasizing it as our children go to school.  Even teachers who show respect to their students will find that the students will return the respect.  Working on this culture will  have its rewards in the community – not just at schools but also at restaurants, grocery stores, museums, and other public venues.

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Helping students understand respect for property

We show respect for property because we have placed a value on it.  We want our students to understand that we show we value a book, stuffed toy or other physical things by the way we treat it.  Here is how this class discussed this subject.  This chat will open up conversations at home – Do you value this object, or your room?  How will you show that this is important to you?  Being able to fall back on these conversations as a parent gives you a starting point that all agree on.  Respect is the way we behave when we value someone, ourselves or property.  Let me know how your conversations go!

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Showing respect for property – when visiting other homes

The expectation we have for others to show respect for items that matter to us is the same that others have for us.  When we are invited to another persons home how do you show respect for the things that matter to them?

It may begin with our entry into the home.  Does the family take their shoes off at the door, then we should follow suit.  We may even ask if this is the custom.  Once we are inside do we wait to be invited into various parts of the house.  If the children are asked to go upstairs into the bedrooms – do you make sure that permission is asked of the parents of the house.

When visiting others in their home, being careful with their belongings – furniture, dishes, toys, all show that the things that matter to others also matters to us.  That is respect – the behavior of valuing others and their property.

Respect can be shown to others with our manners too.  We will want to show appreciation with our words and actions for the hospitality shown to us.  Saying thank you for food and other provisions along with appreciation for the invitation to spend the time with them.  Yes, even their time is a valuable commodity that we show respect for.  When the agreed time limit for the visit is met – then without complaining we will make our way back to our own home – without complaining or begging for more time to be spent.

As I prepared this post I was thinking how well this tied into the practice of empathy.  Asking ourselves how the other person feels and even then taking our level of respect up a notch or two.  Remember empathy is not just treating others the way we would want to be treated.  It really is treating others the way they would like to be treated and that includes their personal property.

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Understanding respect of property – ours or others

respect propertyRespect for ourselves, respect for others, and now showing respect for property – both our own and that of others.  Lets start with items that might belong to us, a book, bike, a drawing or toy.  Remember we talked about how “respect is the behavior shown something or someone that we value”.  All of us can understand the value we place on items that we own.  We may have a special book that we love – we value – it was given to us by a special person in our life or we love the story.  We personally want to take care of it, being sure to put it away in a special place.  We are careful not to tear the pages or break the binding.  When we share it with others, we tell them how special it is to us and give them the rules we have for sharing it with them.  We treat this book “like it matters’.  We value it and expect others to do the same.

Lets imagine that we own a bike – a very special bike exactly what we always wanted.  How would we show respect for this gift from our parents or grandparents?  Would we leave it out in the driveway, laying on the ground overnight, or out in the rain?  Of course not.  We would want to be sure that we cared for it as if it really mattered to us.  If someone wanted to borrow it we may choose to say, “I do not lend my bike out.”  or we may lend it with the request that they treat it with ‘respect’.

We can think of items that are important to our friends and family too.   Sometimes they are items that came from their parents or have special significance due to who or where they came from.  With these items, we would be sure to ask for permission to touch, hold or borrow them.  I remember a special necklace that my wife wore that her grandmother had given her.  There was no great monetary value to the necklace, it was valued because of who had gifted the item.  That sort of special meaning and comfort from that item – made it irreplaceable.

Respect for property, whether it is ours or others is all based on understanding the value of the item, monetary, sentimental or because it was gifted to us.

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How to show respect for yourself

Showing respect for ourselves goes beyond the four ways we discussed in class this week:

  1. Healthy eating
  2. exercise
  3. proper amount of sleep
  4. personal hygiene

respect for selfTo have a real self respect it is also important not to be talked into risking our physical or mental health with bad habits such as smoking or drugs.  In fact many young people are drawn into that with a dare from others – a dare to do unhealthy or even dangerous acts.  But a person who has respect for themselves will not succumb to the ‘peer’ pressure.  We know that ‘we matter’.  We value our health and our bodies.

Beyond those things that seem so obvious, it is shows respect for our life when we have a goal or a mission.  Even young people can have a mission or a purpose.  Having this spelled out, understood that this is why I am doing what I am doing will help us keep everything in perspective.  Having and reaching a goal also acts as a building block to the next and possibly larger goal.  As we reach them, our self respect goes up, resulting in greater confidence and self esteem.

I was so happy to hear our students when talking about self respect say very early in the conversation that we should speak to ourselves in a positive manner and not put ourselves down if we make a mistake or fail to get something that we were hoping for.  They really got the message we talked about when discussing confidence.

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