Monday, May 7, 2012

make a difference monday: respect

It's time once again for a Make a Difference Monday post as a part of author Maria Dismondy's monthly series on instilling positive character traits in our children. 

This year my oldest entered kindergarten, and with that came lots of new opportunities for all of us.  For me in particular I added the role of Daisy Girl Scout Leader to my plate.  I loved the girl scouts as a child, and as mother find their message and vision incredibly relevant and important for my daughter.  As new scouts, my kindergarten troop has spent the school year earning daisy 'petal patches' by doing activities pertaining to each line of the girl scout law.  The concept of RESPECT is featured prominently in this law by encouraging respect for others, respect for myself and respect for authority.

I remember the meeting where we brought up the the idea of respecting authority.  It was interesting because while the girls model respectful behavior, they were not familiar with the actual word and corresponding meaning of RESPECT.  In fairness to my five and six year old girls, it is a little tricky to put into words and showing respect is primarily about actions.  So what behavior and actions show respect for little ones?  Showing kindness towards others, being a good listener, trying to do something that would make a parent/teacher/adult happy, in general treating others like they are important and special.

We decided that one way we could put the principle of RESPECT into action was by saying thank you to some figures of authority in our lives.  Before each girl scout meeting we walk from school to my co-leaders' home and on the way cross two busy roads  At each intersection crossing guards help all our little daisies safely across the street.  Our girls know that in order to keep safe, they must listen carefully and do what this person of authority asks them to do.  To say thank you we made stop sign shaped cards and wrote messages of thanks on the back for all the crossing guards.  While so important to our daily safety, these crossing guards probably get very little acknowledgement, so this gesture of respect and thanks was particularly meaningful for all!

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