By Chirine Hoballah
By definition respect is « politeness, honour, and care shown towards someone or something that is considered important », « a feeling that something is right or important and you should not attempt to change it or harm it » or « the feeling you show when you accept that different customs or cultures are different from your own and behave towards them in a way that would not cause offence »
For me, respect is the most important thing in life. My parents have always taught me to be respectful to everyone and even more people bigger than me.
Moreover, from where I come, respect is essential because Senegal is a peaceful country where everyone respects themselves whether it is the blacks, the Lebanese or the French. As Lebanese, I feel at home in Dakar because the Senegalese respect me as if we were of the same family. If people respected each other more, there would be less war and the world would be less sad. It is important to respect the people with whom they live: their religion, their skin color, their customs, their values. We are all different and that’s what makes everyone unique. If everyone respects each other; then you are yourself safe to express your point of view and be who you are without the risk of being humiliated, criticized, assaulted or anything that can happen when people don’t respect each other. « Respect has great importance in everyday life. As children, we are taught (one hopes) to respect our parents, teachers, and elders, school rules and traffic laws, family and cultural traditions, other people’s feelings and rights, our country’s flag and leaders, the truth and people’s differing opinions. And we come to value respect for such things; when we’re older, we may shake our heads (or fists) at people who seem not to have learned to respect them. We develop great respect for people we consider exemplary and lose respect for those we discover to be clay-footed, and so we may try to respect only those who are truly worthy of our respect. Respect is a responsive relation, and ordinary discourse about respect identifies several key elements of the response, including attention, deference, judgment, acknowledgment, valuing, and behavior. »
At school, respect means listening to your mentors, and all the people who are there to teach you, to respect your classmates whatever their background or social class, to arrive on time, to make plans on time, to respect space, clean when you finish eating, do not degrade the material.