Respect (October, 2015)

As soon we hear the word Respect, immediately, in subconscious mind, an image of a respected person, mostly our parents, elders, and/or teachers, arises. Some may also visualize some prior scene of a respectful person offering reverence to a person/God. There is something spiritual in the sheer act of respect that not only impacts the person being respected and the person offering respect (respectful) but also the surroundings and observers. However, Respect is not limited to being a mere physical act alone, true Respect starts from the feelings in one’s heart; Respect is also not just offered to living beings alone, non-living objects like books and food command utmost respect; and, Respect is not just offered to living and non-living objects, concepts like relationships and beliefs are also revered by people of high character. It is said that we get it automatically in life what we truly respect.
By now, it is obvious that the topic of this month is Respect. As I started thinking about this topic, the number of points and examples started flowing – and their sheer size was nothing short of amazement. So, this month, rather than sharing the article with a few examples, I am jotting down a blueprint that kids can follow to understand and work on the topic as it suits their logical capacity.
Here are a few high-level categories of “things” that command our respect:
  • God (first and foremost);
  •  Living things: Self, parents, teachers, noble/learned people, elders, siblings, family members, fellow citizens, animals;
  • Inanimate objects:  Objects that help acquire knowledge (books, notepad, pen, pencil, bag, school, school property and so on), scriptures and any object that gives spiritual knowledge, objects used to worship (hawan kund and associated stuff, temple), nature (plants, trees), shelter (house), food (meal, fruits, water), clothes, public property;
  • Qualities: Beliefs, rights and feelings (our own as well as others’), relationships
I am sure this list can be extended to whatever length based on individual thinking and character. Let’s take the “things” captured in this list as cue to let kids build their own version of who to respect, how to respect, and why to respect.
Looking forward to hearing kids’ exciting and illuminating explanations of this month’s topic.
Harsh Mendiratta