As our forebears fought for freedom, they exemplified a number of qualities which helped to define their character. I have mentioned a few of these qualities in earlier Wheatakes and this week I will continue to write about those characteristics. Wheatake 38 will address the quality of "respect."
According to the United Nations, "while freedom from want and fear are essential, they are not enough. All human beings have the right to be treated with dignity and respect."
It may be easy to recognize the absence of respect but not nearly as easy to define and show respect in our daily relationships. By definition, respect means to show or demonstrate high regard for, or special attention to something or someone. However, this definition does not tell us what is that something or someone or how to show the high regard. Therefore, we need to look at the requirements for respect from both an individual and a social perspective. As children we were taught the bssic social guidelines for respect, legacies from our forebears. We were taught to knock before we open a door, say hello when we enter a room, say please and thank you, and to have respect for our elders. We should let another person have our seat if that person needs it, we should say "yes sir"and "no sir"and help others when they need help, we say "excuse me" when it is needed, and we should love people for who they are and not what we can get from them. Best of all we were raised to treat people exactly how we would like them to treat us. Our parents taught us to play nice, share with others, say please, thank you, you're welcome, as they lay the foundations for respectful relstiondhips. These basic atttibutes combined with community consensus about respectful behaviour defined standards to guide our interctions. These interactions had no special time or space, no holidays, the community defined the standards and the community monitored the performance of each individual. My mother loved to "tan my hide" when she got a report that I had violated the community standard and did not repent for doing so.
Our personal definitions of respect are influenced by our personalities, emotions, preferences, and cultural make up. We learn about these things over time through relationships with people,, working to understand each person's individual expectations for respect as we get to know people and build shared experiences.
In the world of service it is a challenge to address respect. It is reflected in every aspect of service, processes and relationships, the environment, interactions, supports, and resources. Everything from the arrangement of furniture to the selection of staff and resources can reflect the importance we assign to people receiving services. We should balance professional priorities with individual needs and requirements in such a way that communicates maximum respect for people. We must constantly reflect on the meaning our actions are sending out.
"Show respect even to people who don't deserve it, not as a reflechion of their character, but as a reflection of yours.
"Respect is one of the world's greatest expressions of love."
Miguel Angel Ruiz.
"Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, helps you, or makes you happy. Life is all about personal choices."
Let respect help you to kill the CoI dragon.
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley