Sep 162010


Last year’s «strongpoint» in ethics and values at our school was SELF ESTEEM. The one we have chosen for this school year is RESPECT.
Let me introduce here a couple of definitions which could help us reflect on what we mean by respect. The more I read them the more convinced I become we are lacking in this crucial aspect for the welfare of our society.

As Sarah Cobb points out: «Every human being and nation, irrespective of their power or strength, has the right to be respected. Respect is an unassuming resounding force, the stuff that equity and justice are made of.» It means being treated with consideration and esteem and to be willing to treat people similarly.. It means to have a regard for other peoples’ feelings, listening to people and hearing them, i.e. giving them one’s full attention. Even more importantly, respect means treating one with dignity. Respect is the opposite of humiliation and contempt. So where the latter can be a cause of conflict, the former and its opposite can help transform it». As William Ury writes in his book The Third Side:  «Human beings have a host of emotional needs- for love and recognition, for belonging and identity, for purpose and meaning to lives. If all these needs had to be subsumed in one word, it might be respect.»

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