When I was teaching in the late 60’s at PS145 in Harlem, I started all of my classes by emphasizing the concepts of respect and being proud of your name.
Each morning, kids would greet me with “Yo, Mr. Pasick.”
I would ask them, what was the most important thing you can do today and they would respond in unison “Respect yourself, and respect others.”
Next, I would go around the room and ask each of them to say their name with self-respect and pride. I can still hear them today:
“My name is Candy Mobley”
“My name is Englebert Lopez”
“My name is Jolie Monpetite”
“My name is Barbara Fann”
My memories of these proud kids in Harlem inspired me to start my new class last week on “Managing Professional Relationships” at UofM in a similar manner. This time the kids were juniors and seniors at a prestigious university, but I was surprised at how difficult they found the assignment. Many of them mumbled their names so much so that their classmates could not understand what they said. Just as I had to do in Harlem, I had to teach these “kids” to say their names proudly, as if they highly respected themselves.
Wayne Baker, who will be my guest at Leaders Connect on September 26th, has recently written the book, United America. Not surprisingly, in his research he has found that there are ten core values that unite all people in the USA. First among these is respect.
“Respect for others: Though many sight the lack of consideration for others as the top reason for moral decline in America, the overwhelming majority of Americans put a high premium on respect, and also kindness, which is America’s number one character strength.”
Here are some questions to keep in mind to help you show respect to yourself and others:
- Ask yourself daily:
“Did I practice self-respect today?”
“Did I do anything that could be construed by others (not by you) as disrespectful?”
- Do I know the names of all the people who work for and with me?
- If I meet someone new, do I show respect by asking them for their name?
- When I introduce myself, do I say my name clearly and with pride?
Please share your thoughts and ideas on respect with me in the comments section below.