[This is part of a series inspired by ReDo Day – read more about our ReDo program at www.redoday.com]

“Give the gift of respect.” All of our ReDo Days start with this expectation. Usually we are taught that respect has to be earned. In one sense, that is true. One definition of the word “respect” is “to hold in esteem or honor”. There are words and actions that a person may use that make it really hard to respect him or her. We also need to have some familiarity with a person if we are going to respect them in this sense.

There is another definition for respect, however, that broadens the scope of the word and allows us to treat anyone with respect. That definition is “to show regard or consideration” for a person. It is in this spirit that we offer 4 ways to give the gift of respect:

  1. Be present. When someone is speaking to you, be sure to make eye contact. It can be really tempting to check your phone or look around for someone else to talk to. If you stay present, you let the person who is speaking know that you believe what they have to say is important.
  2. Be curious. It is common to run into people that think differently than us or have different views. We don’t have to agree with a person to give them respect. Everyone has a story that influences their opinions. We can ask questions in the hopes of learning more about how they came to believe what they believe.
  3. Be trustworthy. When someone shares something personal with you, it might be easy to make a joke or make light of what the person has said. But remember, they are trusting you to be kind with that information. Listen to them and respond in the same way you would want them to listen and respond to you.
  4. Be encouraging. You don’t have to know a person to speak kind words to them. Sometimes just a simple, “Hello!”, acknowledging that you see them is all a person needs to feel encouraged. Look for positive things in others that you can compliment.