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+Basics Building Respect

Let’s Get Back to +Basics and Teach Our Children to Respect Adults and Each Other


+Ladies and +Gentlemen … It sounds like an idea from Days Gone By and brings back images of Jimmy Stewart and It’s a Wonderful Life, right? Sadly, yes. Dr. Wendy Mogel, author of Blessings of a Skinned Knee, wrote years ago about the waning emphasis on manners and respect in our school communities. We agree that we can do our children, our schools, and our community a big favor by reinforcing the importance of respect for self, for elders, for peers, and for the greater community.  We need to remember that respect — and good manners — begin at home.  The choices we make as adults affect others, and the behavior we model and tolerate is the behavior we will see in our children.  We are all in this together.  When we raise our children to be ladies and gentlemen, upstanding members of our community, we make our world a better place to be.

YOU CAN START TODAY!  Here is something you can print for your late-elementary-, middle-school-, and high-school-aged children and discuss with them around your kitchen table tonight:

When you’re a +Lady or a +Gentleman, you:

1. Respect yourself.  It’s tough to respect others when you don’t love and respect yourself.  And this can be a challenge at different times of our lives, especially when our bodies are changing and our hormones are raging, and when other kids say mean things.  And when it’s difficult, remember all the special things that make you … you!  And don’t just think of the obvious things most people jump to … athletics, grades, in-your-face talents. Think of the different interests you have and passionately pursue, the way you care for your siblings or grandparents or your older neighbors, your writing or your public speaking ability.  Be proud of yourself, love yourself, respect yourself!

2. Respect adults.  There are a few simple ways to show respect. You can stand up when an adult comes into the room or approaches you.  You can address adults by name, which is Mr. or Mrs. (last name), unless your family has agreed to something more casual.  You can introduce your friends to adults when possible.  You can give a firm handshake, good eye contact, and a clear, “It’s very nice to meet you,” when you are introduced to adults.  You can be respectful of adults from a distance, and ask your friends to stop if someone is making fun of an adult — whether the adult hears you making fun of them or not.

3. Respect your peers. Not gossiping or making fun of kids your own age is a great place to start.  Stepping in to help someone in need of support shows tremendous respect.  This can include helping a friend with academics or in a tough social situation.  Treat others the way you want to be treated — think before you act — and you will not only show respect for your peers … you will earn their respect.

4. Respect property. This is simple.  Respect your stuff, your family’s stuff, your friends’ stuff — and the community’s property.

5. Value your community and know your +place in it.  Ladies and gentlemen are upstanders.  They like the feeling that comes from helping someone, whether it’s noticed or seen — or not.  They try to do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing.