“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me!”
Respect is one of the four core values within the AOS middle school, and in these first two weeks of school, our middle school students have participated in discussions about this word.
In asking our middle school students to define respect, many were challenged to do so without using the actual word itself in their definition. If we know what it means, why is it so hard to define? The definition of respect can differ from generation to generation or culture to culture. There is an underlying need for understanding cultural and generational norms in order to know what is considered respectful. So how do we ensure we are, in fact, acting respectfully?
In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 7 verse 12, we are told, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” In our society, we often refer to this as the Golden Rule. If you do not want to be yelled at, do not yell at others. If you do you not want to be made fun of, do not make fun of others. If you would like to be included, be inclusive. Do you want to be shown agape? Show agape to others. It is such a simple directive, yet is not always so simply carried out. Christ corrected, taught, and disagreed respectfully while always showing agape for all he encountered. We are called to imitate Christ for he is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). If we strive to act as Christ acted, we can’t go wrong!