R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me! R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We’ve all heard the song, but do we understand the meaning? To me, respect is many different things shown in many different ways. To someone else, it could mean something a little bit different. That’s why Aretha Franklin said “Find out what it means to ME.” However, whatever our personal definition of respect is, what is more important is treating other people with the respect we would want to be shown ourselves.
Respect is the glue that holds your relationships together. That is why it is so important to learn ways to be respectful and know what to do when somebody isn’t respectful toward you. Respect is important because receiving respect from others helps us to feel safe and to express ourselves. If we aren’t able to accomplish these things, how are we going to be able to have meaningful relationships and live our lives to our fullest potential. The short answer is we will not be able to!
Being respected by important people in our lives growing up teaches us how to be respectful toward others. That is why it is important for authority figures in your life, such as your teachers and parents, to treat you in a respectful manner. This doesn’t mean they are not able to be strict or angry with you sometimes, but it means they treat you in a way that is considerate and will help you to develop and learn from your mistakes, rather than be afraid of them.
Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they’re different from you or you don’t agree with them. This is really, really important; especially when you are growing up. This will build into your relationships with your friends and peers feelings of trust, safety, and wellbeing. Even if you think these things aren’t necessary in a casual friendship with a classmate, you have no idea what it could mean to the other person. That’s why we should treat people with the respect we would want to be treated with, even if they are being disrespectful themselves! You never know what struggle someone else is facing.
Respect doesn’t have to come naturally – it is something you learn. Think about all the different situations in life where you have to get along with others – how do you know if there’s respect in your relationship? Things that show respect is a feeling of safety being around each other, knowing it’s ok for both of you to express who you are, listening to each other and being patient when you disagree, not controlling the other person’s choices, and talking openly about your needs and wants.
Don’t forget to have respect for yourself too! Being respectful toward others is one part of the puzzle. It’s also important to have respect for yourself. Remember that you are valued and you matter. What you think and feel is just as important as what somebody else thinks and feels.
So there you have it: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Now you know what it means to me. But what does it mean to you? Find out and show it to others.
1. What does respect mean to you? Discuss in your own paragraph.
2. Do you think you can have successful relationships with the people in your life if there isn’t mutual respect? Why or why not?
3. Do you want to be shown respect by every single person you meet? Why or why not?
Practical Thinking Questions:
1. What is a way you can respect your friends, a way you can show respect at school and a way you can show respect at home?
2. Draw a brainstorm of all the positive outcomes of showing respect.
3. Think about a time you have shown respect recently and a time someone has shown respect towards you. How did it make you feel in both instances?