"If one doesn't respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect for others." -Ayn Rand
I would have to begin by saying that I really don't agree with the cartoon, but I thought that it provided a topic that I discuss in my classroom, and hopefully is discussed at home as well. That being - RESPECT.
We talk about respecting other people a lot in school, and a great deal of little chats that I have with my sixth graders are about respect. We may be talking about respecting the feelings of another student. We might focus on just respecting elders, or people of authority. My class has heard me talk about other areas of respect, including respecting ones property, space, possessions, family, time, differences, and SELF.
What exactly are we looking at doing when we have these discussions? I call them little chats, because it gives a different "feel" to the room when I say it. "OK, it's time for a little chat." I ask questions, they ask questions, and we discuss the importance of respecting others, and ourselves.
And that is where I think it all begins. We need to respect ourselves first, in order to respect other people. Which is why I am pretty much nothing like the teacher in the cartoon. I have a lot of self pride, and I'm proud to say that I'm a teacher. I feel that I play a relevant role in my community, and do a good job in my profession. I respect myself, and I respect others.
What makes life difficult is when you run into people that don't have any respect. I can picture Rodney Dangerfield saying "I don't get any respect." Well, they need to begin with themselves, and work from there. It just seems to snowball though. They begin by not respecting themselves. Maybe they've had tough luck finding a job, or are unable to stop some sort of addiction, which happens all the time. That doesn't mean you're worthless, but some people take that kind of situation too hard. They lose respect for themselves, and with it, they lose respect for other people. They begin to blame others for things. They disrespect other people, and this just makes things so much worse.
That is one thing that I don't tolerate in my classroom at all. I will not allow someone to disrespect another person, especially me. And to be honest, I can tell if someone respects me or not. If they respect me, then they most likely will receive that same respect from me back. If they don't respect me, I'm not going to respect them.
So, to combat disrespect, we talk about ways to show respect:
- Complimenting other people.
- Showing empathy and understanding.
- Addressing people when being talked to.
- Removing hats when in public buildings.
- Apologizing when necessary.
- Saying "Thank You" and "You're Welcome"
- Being prepared, and alert.
"They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them."- Mahatma Gandhi