Teaching respect: a philosophical analysis


moral education


According to a Zulu proverb a human being can only become truly human because of others. Each person can only become more human, more himself- regardless of his sex - through the co-involvement of others. It is the love for one’s neighbour and the respect one has for him/her as a person which makes one consider the other party's feelings, viewpoints and circumstances. In order to arrive at a situation of peaceful coexistence it is important to realize that human attitudes and a mature life style evolve through a process of learning and interaction with others. It is a timeconsuming and costly process which starts at infancy and continues throughout someone's life. Instruction concerning interpersonal relations and the teaching of respect cannot be confined to individual lessons or working sessions at home or in school. Discussions and conversations concerning interpersonal relations need to form an integral and natural part of a child’s life within the home environment and throughout the pupil's school career. It is senseless if educators talk about the importance of teaching respect only to reveal disrespectful behaviour themselves, or to talk about the importance of self-esteem in the paying of respect whilst causing children to feel negative about themselves. To be able to express respect to other human beings, one needs to be respected. A child needs to experience how it feels when homage is paid. The following rule of life applies in this regard: one can never give if one has never received respect.

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