RYC Youth Educator Jessica Lodato (Miss Jess) helped Rye's 4th graders understand RESPECT, and why it is important to nurture in our daily lives.
Respect was defined as the feeling or understanding that something or someone is important, good and valuable and should be treated in an appropriate way.
The children definitely identified with the idea of everyone being important, good and valuable, but we took time to explore what fell under that umbrella. In doing so the children realized that the reality is that we are all different. We are all different in thoughts, feelings and form/physicality. If we are all important, good and valuable, then our thoughts, feelings and form should be treated appropriately.
Ok, so what does “in an appropriate way” look like?
The kids talked about the ideas of being polite and using their manners, which was a great start! We then shifted and explored the ideas of really listening to each other, hearing each other's point of view with patience, and tending to each other's feelings with care and concern. Even if they don’t make sense to us!
Everyone agreed that yelling at one another was definitely NOT “an appropriate way,” because everyone should feel safe around each other to express who they are, the thoughts they have and what they feel.
Lastly, we spoke about "self-respect". Self-respect is speaking up for oneself when their feelings, thoughts or ideas and values are not being respected by someone else. If someone is treating us with disrespect or asking us to do something that will compromise our values or inhibit us to be ourselves, then we need to speak up and not let it continue. We need to respect ourselves just as much as we respect others.
As a parent we have so many teachable moments for our children. We just need to keep talking. Pointing out (appropriate) examples of respect/disrespect and processing the “why” is a great way for them to start thinking about respect from the most important role model they know… you!