Respect In the Community
Treating others with honor and dignity
“Watch your thoughts for they become words
Watch your words for they become actions
Watch your actions for they become habits
Watch your habits for they become your character
Watch your character for it becomes your destiny.” Lao Tzu
by Mary Andres Russell
How respectful are your words? By many accounts, the level of respect and civility has declined in our country over the past several decades. We see it in political divisiveness and family conflict. We hear it in the common use of foul language on TV and movies, on t-shirts and bumper stickers.
There is a great deal of talk lately about problems of our “culture.” Keep in mind that if we want to improve our society and culture, “it starts with me.” If we want a more respectful society, we have to be more respectful ourselves. Here are a couple of ways…
#1) Consider your audience. While using foul language may be considered acceptable within certain groups and even useful for emphasizing a point or getting a laugh, your grandmother and others may be offended, and a portion of your co-workers and friends may view it as crude or unprofessional. The faith-filled members of your workplace team might be cringing when they hear God’s name spoken in vain. A good number of people on the street or in the grocery don’t want to be assaulted by offensive language on t-shirts. And unless we want second graders repeating offensive language at school, we definitely want to curb it in front of the kids. Children who swear are often viewed by their teachers as disruptive or disrespectful, and frequent cursing can lead to other negative choices.
#2) Think about your surroundings. Up until last year, I traveled a lot for work. It was astonishing to me the images I couldn’t help but observe on the screens of fellow airline passengers. That R-rated movie is your choice but may be completely inappropriate for the child or religious person sitting at your elbow or in the row behind. At best, it’s quite a distraction for those of us trying to work or sleep.
#3) Be careful not to demonize others. Just because someone holds a different view, works for the competition, or is a member of the opposite political party, it doesn’t make them a bad person or even an enemy. We are all complex human beings with unique experiences, perspectives, and motivations. Rather than rushing to judgment, take the time to listen and learn about their viewpoint. Hold others in respect and engage in meaningful discussion. Conflict is inevitable in families and in the workplace. We can disagree, but not be disagreeable.
Respectful thoughts lead to honorable words. Be aware of your thinking because our words start there. If you frequently use offensive language in your mind, curb it in your mind first, and your words will follow. If you find yourself demonizing others in your thoughts, try to see that person in a different light. For our culture to be more respectful and civil, each of us can play a part. Respect… It starts with me. Character… It starts with me.
The Links below will take you to Resources you can use with the family or within community organizations
to teach the Character Quality of Respect.
The following activities are related to dates this month and can relate to any character quality or good character in general.
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Our other Pillars have resources that can be used in a community or family setting.
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