Respect is foundational for living and working in a community. By showing respect, we honor one another and put the needs of others ahead of our own. Respect has always been highly valued at Dalat and demonstrated by our students, staff, and parents. When we evaluated our Student Outcome Statements last year, “respecting others” came out as the statement with the highest results. However, as we have returned to school full-time this year, we have noticed a change in respectfulness.
There are many different reasons for this, including time spent online, lack of personal interactions, and a decline in social skills in general. Many of us were so overwhelmed by all of the changes and unknowns over the past few years that we unintentionally became more self-centered as a protective mechanism. However, regardless of the reason, we want to focus on rebuilding respectful attitudes and actions.
Respect starts with having respect for yourself. All of our kids need to know that they are important as individuals and highly valued. They need to appreciate that they are still growing and learning, and it’s okay not to be perfect. Physical self-respect includes eating healthy food and getting plenty of exercise.
Respect for others flows from this. Respecting others includes treating them with kindness, being forgiving when people make mistakes, and using gentle words. We want to encourage our students to be respectful with the words they choose. This means not using profanity or putting others down.
Students also need to regain their respect for learning and the school environment. Being physically away from school for more than one-third of the last three school years has made some of our students question the value of education. Showing respect for learning includes being willing to persevere and keep trying, listening to the teachers, and treating school property well.
As adults, it is important for us to model respectful behavior to our students. We need to show respect to kids as individuals, and also respect one another. Kids are always listening, and if we speak negatively about someone in their hearing, they will remember that. I want to encourage each of us to refocus on demonstrating respect in our relationships. That will help us to reconnect even more strongly than before.
Written by Shawna Wood
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