The importance of respect

Respect encompasses all areas of our lives, and includes: respect for ourselves, respect for all people regardless of their condition, respect for parents, teachers, elders, respect for laws and social norms and the people who watch over its compliance, respect for community assets, and respect for life, nature and animals. Thanks to respect and mutual recognition of rights, we cultivate healthy and enriching relationships, which are the basis of a friendly and peaceful coexistence.

Learning to accept differences and understanding that they enrich us is also one of the tasks of education in respect. If our children understand that all people are equally valuable regardless of our culture, social origin, religion, sexual orientation or physical and mental condition, they will behave with respect and consideration towards all of them.

Children are not born with prejudice. They do not discriminate or care about another child’s background, her culture, or her abilities. However, they can acquire prejudices from their environment that lead them to discriminate against or undervalue other children because they consider them different. On the contrary, an environment that is open and respectful of differences fosters in children a tolerant and respectful attitude towards diversity.

The fear of the unknown sometimes causes us an irrational rejection of what we do not know and that is different from us. However, if we get to know the «different» and empathize with him (for example, a child with motor disabilities, or a classmate from another country who does not speak our language), our prejudices and fears will surely disappear.

These teach them how to behave at all times and help them feel safe and secure. As they begin to socialize in other environments (school, park…) they learn the rules that regulate social interactions and the treatment we owe to collective goods and the environment. For example, they learn that they cannot hit other children, that papers are thrown in the wastebasket, that there is no yelling or fuss in the doctor’s waiting room, that they cannot take another child’s bucket with whom they played in the park, or that they have to shake hands with their parents to cross the street.

Children learn the rules little by little and it is normal that they sometimes break them to experience the consequences. It is part of your learning process. Sometimes breaking a rule and experiencing its consequences helps them truly understand how important it is and stick to it from then on. Those children and young people who internalize and understand the real value of the rules, in the future will be more aware and responsible people who will probably avoid risky behaviors, such as exceeding the speed limit while driving or driving under the influence of alcohol.

Photo by William Fortunato on
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