The Power of Respect

By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at

It’s the beginning of a new month, and that means it’s time for a new Powerful Word!

Throughout April 2011, we’ll be working on the concept of “respect.” All our discussions and activities will aim to help our students understand what it means to show care, consideration, concern and courtesy for those in their family, at school, among their friends and out in the community.

Powerful Words is the character development curriculum at Urban Martial Arts. It’s designed by one of the nation’s leading childhood development experts, Dr. Robyn Silverman. Every month, we focus on a different Powerful Word, or concept around character development.

Here’s a video from Dr. Robyn Silverman in which she introduces some of the concepts we’ll be covering this month:

Respect is at the foundation of every healthy relationship, interaction, and communication. It’s reflected in the way we speak and act. It’s in the way we treat our family, friends, environment and community. It’s also in the way we regard the rights, ideas, and property of others. Respect, after all, is all about following the Golden Rule– treating others the way you want to be treated.

It’s also vital that we have respect for ourselves and teach our children to do the same. These days there are so many messages in the media and in the world that tell us to be unhappy with who we are — to buy products that will make us appear “younger,” “thinner” and “better” and to do unhealthy things to our bodies to fit an “acceptable” mold. When we have respect for ourselves, we celebrate our own strengths and values. When we can do that, it’s easier for others to respect the value in us.

A recent study published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science (June, 2010) tells us that relationships get better with age, partly due to respect. Researchers found that as people age, they are more likely to show forgiveness and respect as well as care, concern, and cherishing of the moments they have. How can we harness that attitude of respect in our children while they are still young? We will be bringing respect to the forefront as we discuss it in class this month.

As always, one of the best ways to teach and reinforce Powerful Words is by modeling strength of character ourselves. Share with your children how you show respect to others in your everyday lives. How do you show care, consideration, concern and courtesy for those in your family, at school, at work, among your friends and out in the community? This type of question can serve as a great jumping off point at your dinner tables.

Free Download: Special Report on Respect

Fill out the form below to request a free PDF download of our special report:
“The Power of Respect: A Guide for Parents and Educators”

This special report is an excellent resource, whether you’re a parent who wants to instill greater respect in your children, or you’re a teacher looking for character development lesson ideas in the classroom.

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