Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What is respect? To me...

My friend Ruth asked: "...have you ever had to explain what respect was to group of kids. Yesterday I was asked to do this in my karate class. I think I only managed to confuse them. As someone I would consider to be very wise, I was wondering how you of gone about this? Many thanks"

Yes, the whole concept of respect is difficult to explain. I can understand how children could be confused by it. It's funny that you asked me this question, as a few moments before now, I had been sharing a story with my children about the lack of respect that I have noticed prevalent in the latest generation of elementary school students. It amazes me because I KNOW that positive values are being taught consistently in the school curriculum, so where are we failing our next generation? Why have I seen so many young people treating senior citizens, adults, others, and themselves with such lack of concern for respect, and honor? The only answer that I can find is to point to our entertainment industry that offers constant ridicule to those things that we value. When I was a child, I remember watching t.v. shows that showed a family struggling through tough times together, and through their love, and courage they came through. "Swiss family Robinson", "The Cosby Show", "Little House on the Prairie", "The Munsters", "My three sons", "The littlest Hobo", "Lassie", etc. etc. Today, I see so many shows that show ridicule towards authority, age, and experience. In these shows, the children are intelligent ie: the heroes, and adults are dumb, bumbling idiots. "Drake and Josh", "Kim Possible", "Sabrina, the teenage witch", etc.

Respect comes from "gratitude and intrinsic value".

I value myself, therefore I respect myself: I do what is good for me. I live up to good habits like being honest, being caring, being courageous, being hopeful, sleeping well, eating healthy, keeping clean, etc.

I value my family, therefore I respect them: I listen to my parents, I help around the house, I clean up after myself, I treat my brothers/sisters nicely.

I value my education, therefore I respect my teachers: I do my homework, I ask questions if I do not understand, I do my best at my work.

I value my Karate training, therefore I respect my Sensei, and karate partners: I follow dojo etiquette, I obey, and do my best at each exercise, I take care to work with my partner, I show humility, and self control.

I value my neighborhood, therefore I respect my neighbors: I speak to them politely, I take care of public property such as parks,transit,etc by avoiding littering, graffiti, damage. I pay attention to follow the traffic rules when I ride my bike, and keep safe from causing accidents.

I value my world, therefore I respect the environment: I learn to live green and reduce, reuse, and recycle. I care about others, and offer support to those who need it to make the world a better place.

This is what respect means to me.