Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RESPECT FOR OTHERS (Tuesday, October 4)

"We have a choice about how we behave, and that means we have the choice to opt for civility and grace"
- David Currie

We often hear about the importance of respecting others.  It is an easy phrase to say.  But what exactly does it mean to respect others?  Today we shared a list of things we can do to show respect for others:
  • speak kindly
  • take responsibility
  • accept and give praise
  • pay attention
  • accept and give constructive criticism
  • assume the best
  • listen
  • be inclusive
  • acknowledge others
  • be mindful of others' time and space
  • apologize
  • don't complain
  • acknowledge the opinions of others
Students saw a short video that focused on civility.  The video featured Charles, a homeless man in New York City who explained his philosophy of respect for others.  He explained that "it doesn't cost a penny to be polite," and "there are more ways to be be good than bad."  Two important lessons that we can all learn from. 

The video was about civility and we talked about what that meant.  Unfortunately, today, our students see far less civility throughout their days.  Watch television, listen to politicians, even drive in a car and you will see some of the least civil behaviors you can imagine.

All students completed a writing assignment based on treating others with respect.  They were asked to explain both respectful and disrespectful behaviors here at school.  In addition to this, fifth graders did a role playing activity that focused on showing respect for others in a problem solving situation.  Eighth graders looked at George Washington's transcription of Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.  These rules, written over 200 years ago, still apply today.  Some were humorous, "# 7, Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chamber half dressed."  Some were very clear cut, "#1, Every action done in company, ought to be with some sign of respect, to those that are present."  The complete list of 110 rules can be found at:  http://www.history.org/Almanack/life/manners/rules.cfm

As we go forth today let us all show a little more respect for others and remember, in the words of Charles, a very wise man in a very unfortunate situation, respect "comes from inside your heart, not from your pocketbook."

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