The essence of respect is to show regard for the worth of people (including yourself). Our ethical duty is to treat everyone with respect.
Treating them with respect means showing others that they are important and worthy simply because they are fellow human beings.
In a nutshell:
- Honor the individual worth and dignity of others
- Be courteous and civil
- Honor reasonable standards and customs
- Live by the “golden rule”
- Accept differences and judge on character and ability
- Avoid actual or threatened violence
Which ones on this list are the toughest? What about “accept differences and judge on character and ability”? There may be plenty of people in the world that you don’t agree with. There are probably even some who act in a way that makes your blood boil. You can show them respect without approving of their actions.
Thomas Jefferson said it best, “Sir, I will treat you as a gentleman, not because you are one, but because I am one.”
We’ll continue the discussion on respect later this week. We will even try to answer our parent’s favorite question “If everyone jumped off of a bridge, would you?”.
Want more on respect? Here is a recent blog post on respect from our friend and founder of CHARACTER COUNTS!, Michael Josephson.