During the academic year 2020-2021, we presented these reflections and resources related to Respect which could be used during assembly time or in other moments. The pastoral ministry was needed more than ever since we needed to strengthen the connectedness in our relationships and restore hope, especially in our younger generations. Even though these resources were created with an age range in mind, it is left to the professional way of the educators to adapt this material according to the school’s and to the class needs and ethos.

As the Spiritual Development Team in Schools, we are proposing an age-appropriate set of resources that can be used during a class/bubble assembly. These resources instil awareness and more significant appreciation on behalf of the participants towards the value of self and mutual respect. Especially during this particular time the ethical conduct of respect in all its complexity including respect towards the Divine, towards one another and all forms of life sharing our Common Home-Earth is indispensable and imperative for the well being of all forms of life.

Mutual respect which incorporates respect for the World and all created things is a core value for healthy peaceful relationships. As is with other core values, respect can not be taken for granted; instead, we should continuously explore ways in which it challenges our personal and communal values, decisions and behaviours. Why should I respect myself, others, creation and the Creator? Can’t we get by without respect? How far should my respect go? Are there any codes of respect? Are there attitudes or actions that for me, might be respectful when, in reality, they aren’t? How will I comprehend the complexity of this value?

As a community of faith and in particular as Christians, we believe that it was God who first loved and respected us when He granted us the gift of life. This gift was bestowed onto us freely and not earned as happens what the kind of personal merit we work tirelessly for. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1John 4,10)

Respect from God and towards God

The more we recognize God’s unconditional love towards humanity in awe of creation and in His Offering of His Only Begotten Son to save us from all forces that put our lives at risk, the more we appreciate this gift of life. What will my response to God’s Love be? I can give him nothing because he already holds everything except my free will to choose to love Him back and love and respect his creation. Recognizing God’s presence in the depths of my life is a necessary lifelong process in which we keep on maturing. My prayers are a way of showing God that I know how much he respects me by his constant presence, by giving my life a purpose and by showing me his love through his Word, the Eucharist and various other ways and means.

Respect towards and from creation

We all live and reside in this common home. Along the journey of our lives, we are to learn how to live peacefully to ensure that all creatures will dwell in harmony in this home. Where this harmony has been distorted, hindered or broken, we are called to do our fair share to ensure reconciliation. Recognizing the beauty of the different creatures, and of the diverse ecosystems that exist around us, present in the most remote habitats in our country and worldwide elicits respect towards creation. Instead of trying to preside over it and manipulating it for our gain, we learn how to appreciate it, live with and within it in peace.

Respect towards myself

I should respect my being by recognizing; myself as the child of God, as a loved human being, my past experiences and my hopes for the future and in recognizing all of my relationships, throughout my life journey. In the graces God bestows on me I have evidence of his love for me, particularly in forgiving me for all my sinful acts in which I lack loving and respecting Him and all of creation including fellow human beings.

Respect from others and towards others

Throughout our lives, we have multiple relationships, especially with members of our own family. Nothing is perfect in this World, and at times we tend to focus more on our hurts and the pains we go through. Nonetheless recognizing the respect others had for us, in that they cared for us, took time to teach us and patiently supported us is imperative. Recognizing and appreciating this respect will lead us to grow into respectful people who make time for one another to ensure the wellbeing of everyone. One can easily respect those who are on our side of the coin or those whom we do not judge as suspicious. That is why we need to come to terms with our feelings about people whom we judge as suspicious or whom we try to avoid because they instil in us fear of the unknown. Respect moves us to create opportunities where we can meet with these people and trash our suspicious and fears.