Respect by Webster's definition is to admire someone or something deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
My definition is a bit different.
I substitute and I can remember when I was in middle and high school and there was a sub, all of a sudden rules were forgotten, bathroom breaks increased and the idea of a free period chatting with friends or writing notes was all the focus. Back in the day, when our teacher said make sure you respect the sub, it was translated into, don't have the sub running out of the school.
Today things are different. Well with me anyway. I enjoy subbing and interacting with our youth, so when I am a sub I see the students as the best they can be at the age they are, and with that being said, this is how I introduce myself to the class.
I stand tall, walk around the class room, make eye contact and say, hello everyone, my name is Mrs Marcantuono, but since I am only here one day, you can call me Mrs. M. I have one request. I will treat and respect you like a human if you treat and respect me like a human. If you have any questions, I will try the best to help you out, if I can not help you out I will find someone that can.
Most of the time the room is silent at human. Do you want to know why? Neither do I. Ha! No seriously, I never asked them, but I can tell they feel respected when I pay attention and talk to them, NOT at them. If you are reading this blog and say hey that is a great line and use it on your students, be prepared, if you do not know what this truly means, don't say it. Remember if you try to use what another person has, says or does because you see they have succeed at it and then you fail, you only fail because they have no idea how to use it or what it means.
Trust me, I had a hard time with how I defined respect. Throughout my life I tried to figure out what respect really was, but it was only until this journey, searching deep inside, is when I found what it truly meant to me, because for so long it was missing. It was not until I found how it effects me daily, how I treat myself, how I respond to myself, worse yet, how I don't respond to myself. It is all about the true reflection of how I treat and respect myself is how I treat and respect others, no matter what person, place or thing it is.
Respect to me means treating each other like humans, knowing we all have blood pumping in our veins to survive, we have the cells in our body, we form the same way, we eat to survive, we drown if we are under water for too long and our bodies will freeze in or about -2 degrees. But the most important human trait is we ALL have the same story, we are born and we all will die.
Respect for me is about knowing the responsibility you take for yourself and not blame others for your choices, actions or reactions. It is about listening and being empathetic to what others feel or say. Being sensitive to other human's styles, backgrounds and communication. It is about thinking before you speak, and not taking it personal. Respect means to me that I do not have to agree what another humans think, but I will acknowledge their ideas and thoughts. Respect for me means being aware that other human's opinions are the reflection of themselves, not me. Respect is also about trust. Trusting the process of my growth. Trusting that when I respect myself, I know that I am doing the best I can with what I have. It is then and only then will I be able to respect other humans.
So when you say that you have or want respect, what does it mean to you?
If you have time after you read this blog, could you write down what respect means to you. You may be surprised at what comes out on paper.
Namaste my friends