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How Were You Raised?

Posted on November 12th, 2015

Respect. It’s a word your children have heard me use many times during the past few months, especially at our Lower School chapels.  I’ve associated respect with Bible passages such as “Love your neighbor as yourself,” or The Golden Rule,  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  I’ve simplified respect and defined it as “kindness” or “helping others.” Respect is also a choice we make (or don’t make) countless times a day. The LS participated in a special campaign where students created posters sharing “How we show respect at GSL.” We’ve spotlighted and celebrated students demonstrating respect.  We can all be proud that GSL is such a respectful community!

Respect is a universal character trait. Versions of the Golden Rule can be found in most, if not all, cultures and religions. Respect is also a value that is foundational to the GSL experience.  In the LS and MS Parent Handbook, there is a section entitled “Respect for the Community” which includes 12 rules or expectations that elaborate on how we should treat each other at school. 

During LS chapels, we’ve seen videos of people modeling “respectful” behaviors.  One video best captured for me the essence of respect and takes place at a high school basketball game.  The home team is playing their last game of the regular season, and the coach decides to have the team manager, Mitchell, suit up.  Mitchell has a developmental disability, and the coach wants an opportunity to honor him in the last game. In fact, the coach had decided to play Mitchell during the last few minutes of the game, regardless of the score. True to his word, the coach puts Mitchell in the game during the final minutes of the game. Mitchell has opportunities to score, but fails each time.  With seconds on the clock, Mitchell misses his last chance to score by losing a pass out of bounds. 

In the final moment of the game, a player from the opposing team throws the ball inbounds and purposefully throws it to Mitchell, who takes the ball and makes a basket. I applaud the coach, the home team and the home crowd for showing honor and respect to a well deserving individual and giving him this special moment in time.  But I have a greater admiration for the boy from the opposing team who has the sportsmanship and respect to participate in this demonstration of honor.  When interviewed after the game, the boy from the opposing team is asked why he did what he did. His response is simple but powerful, “I was raised to treat others how you want to be treated. I think Mitchell deserved this chance; he deserved this opportunity.”

Respect is a relatively easy word to define. We all agree it is important, but at times it can be elusive.  Just watch the news. Some of the sadness that is reported stems from a lack of respect.

Respect.  It’s a word your children will hear me use many times in the months ahead.  I hope as parents you continue to join me in modeling respect, expecting your children to demonstrate it, and affirming it when it takes place.  It truly does take a village to raise a child.  Like the boy from the opposing team in the video, I hope we hear many of our own GSL students say, “I was raised to treat others how you want to be treated.”

The video can be found by clicking on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naRCfl8oCos

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