Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dignity and Respect

These terms have been the buzzword at dh's work lately and have infiltrated our home and therefore my thoughts. Now, my thoughts are once again oozing onto the blogosphere. Can a Mr. Clean magic eraser sponge take care of that? Oh wait, that's crayon on the wall. So confused . . .

Let's just review Merriam Webster's definitions for anyone needing a reminder:


1: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed


1 a: to consider worthy of high regard

When I think of it, dignity and respect are two basic obligations we have to all human beings. Why then do I witness time and time again, parents treating their own children with such disregard for their dignity and a total lack of respect? Why do I see adults treating one another this way at all, let alone in front of their own or other children? It maddens me to no end. Anger and insanity may both be read into that sentence.

I walk my daughter into school and I hear a father downgrading his son, walking down the hallway behind him, disciplining him for some imagined future action that had better not occur. In front of his peers, and in front of other adults, including his teacher, and students of lower grades who look up to this kid. He proceeds onto the school office where he waits patiently to scold a fellow parent publicly about frustrations for which she is not wholly responsible. The same father attends meetings overflowing with personal information about his life and that of his son's emotional and physical well-being. Stunned, I listen in shock - not only to the horrible shocking details of this poor child's experiences, but mostly to the fact that his mentor is once again over-sharing things that are not rightfully his to share! Is it any wonder the poor boy is emotionally wounded? If I ever imagined that my every private family situation was broadcast in front of my classmates and their parents, I would have been appalled as a child. Who knows what reactions may have surfaced. Shuddering and stuttering are the only reactions I can muster as an adult witness to it now.

"Children, put down your heads and disappear. You are invisible." I hear this nearly every day that I stop in for my daughter's lunch time. We all struggle with the feelings of being at once the center of attention and the next minute completely invisible. To have a school authority figure reinforce that a child should be invisible for any amount of time, cannot be psychologically healthy! I understand that elementary school cafeterias are rambunctious and disorderly - it's the nature of the beast. I appreciate our decibel-sensor that buzzes when the noise is too loud. Kids will be kids, as they say, and "kid" is often synonymous with "noisy". There must be a better way to express to the kids that it is time to take it down a notch.

My goal is to is to think more about "dignity" and about "respect." I intend to insist that my child be treated with dignity and respect and I intend to do it for other children as well. I only hope I can stop myself from staring aghast at the spectacle or shaking my head and turning away in disgust as I have in the recent past.

No comments: