Exploring Values with the Bible - Respect
Many schools follow a programme of key values throughout the school year. These values can be an important framework for helping to define and validate the work of the school 'beyond the curriculum'. Each value can be used as the theme for collective worship, the focus for classroom reflection and the subject matter for main hall or quiet corner displays.
The Bible has so much to offer in this area of positive personal, relational and community values, and its timeless wisdom can help all schools pass on to the next generation the qualities of life that are most valuable and which, as Christians, we believe are not only God-given but also can be God-energised in our lives.
What follows is a series of ideas linked to the value of 'Respect'.
It includes: key themes to explore, a key Bible verse to use, key concepts to unpack, ideas for displays and reflective corners, as well as Bible story links with further connections to material on the Barnabas websites.
1. Key themes to explore
Self respect - celebrating our gifts and talents; looking after ourselves; nurturing the best we can be; honouring how God has made us; being confident about who we are; earning the respect of others
Respect for parents and carers - honouring mum and dad or those who care for us; helping at home; appreciating what's done for us; cooperation not conflict; taking responsibility
Respect for those in authority - working with our elected representatives; cooperating with police, teachers and those who work for our safety in different ways; being prepared to listen and learn from others who have experience
Respect for others - everyone is special; everyone's opinion matters; everyone's contribution is important; everyone's feelings should be considered; everyone's faith is sacred
Respecting the environment - green issues
2. Key Bible verses
1. 'The Lord God wants you to honour all human authorities' (1 Peter 2:13, paraphrase).
2. 'Pay others the honour and respect you owe them' (Romans 13:7, paraphrase).
3. 'Try to earn the respect of others' (Romans 12:17, paraphrase).
4. 'Pray for all those in power so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honour God' 1 (Timothy 2:2, paraphrase).
3. Key concepts to unpack
Respect means treating each other with politeness and courtesy.
Respect has to do with recognising each other as fellow human beings with equal rights to ourselves.
Respect does not mean that we always agree with the other person but that we are prepared to listen and share our views without rudeness or impatience.
Respect needs to start with respect for ourselves and our own unique contribution to our homes, schools or communities.
We sign letters with the words 'yours respectfully' to show that we treat others' opinions and presence as valuable and significant.
Respecting is also linked to the words honouring, esteeming, valuing and listening whole-heartedly.
We talk of earning another's respect.
Children are introduced to the idea of respect when:
- they are taught to listen to each other
- they are encouraged to value other people's different lifestyles, beliefs and opinions
- they are required to obey instructions and guidance for their own good
- they work for healthy relationships in the family, the class, in school and within the community
- they learn about other ways of seeing this world
- they hear in history of how one group of people has disrespected the rights of another and the consequences of this
4. Display or reflective corner ideas
Put up some commonly-seen instructions found in schools or in the community, such as: 'no playing of ball games here', 'only two children allowed in at a time', and so on..
Display the golden rules agreed for your school meal time, in the playground or in the classroom.
Have pictures of people who carry authority in school or in society.
Show some pictures of people not respecting each other, such as spoiling the environment by dropping litter or some fighting each other, and so on.
Use road signs as a theme for this display, for example, respecting the rules the road for the good of all travellers.
Key Bible verses:
The Ten Commandments: these include: respect for God (his name, his character and his special day); for parents, and for each other (by not stealing, lying or taking a life) - see Exodus 20:3-17.
Some questions to ask:
Who do you respect and why? What sort of behaviour earns respect? How will I earn the respect of others? What do I do to show I respect someone?
5. Some Bible story links
1. The Ten Commandments - see Exodus 20:1-17
2. Paul's instructions on respecting those who run our society for the common good - see Romans 13:1-10
3. Disrespect in society is the beginning of it falling apart - see 2 Timothy 3:1-5
4. Respecting each other - see 1 Peter 3:15-17
5. Respect in the home between parents and children - see Ephesians 6:1-4
6. Ideas for Collective worship and classroom sessions