Several children’s books’ authors who inquired about joining the new Facebook group ‘Children’s Books with Good Values’ (https://www.facebook.com/groups/451295801634477) asked for a clarification as to the meaning of ‘good values’. Indeed what are good values? These days, in a world that seems to have lost its moral compass, the ubiquitous ‘value’ buzz words include ‘tolerance’ ‘acceptance’ and ‘diversity’.
Tolerance? Should we teach our kids to “tolerate” others?
Acceptance? Are we to decree who is acceptable and who is not?
Diversity? Should we focus on or seek differences? Are we not all human?
I would argue that these ‘values’ reek of arrogance and divisiveness.
A good value is one that was recognized as such in the past, deemed so in the present, and will be considered thus in the future. A good value is one that is not dependent on fleeting contemporary mores, or fads and fashions that may change like the wind. A good value is one that is enduring and eternal.
There is one value that not only contains the positive elements in the above listed buzz words, but a value that is all encompassing, everlasting, and is never dependent on or vulnerable to social norms.
What is respect? The HEBREW word for respect is KAVOD, which also means honor. Indeed, one of the major tenets of Judaism is K’VOD HaBRIYOT, or in translation ‘honor of creations (human beings)’. Respecting others means honoring our fellow men and women by acknowledging their individual dignity and their value and being considerate of their needs and feelings.
When one respects his fellow man, one discerns — no shape, no color, no age, no gender, no size, no national origin, no class, no diplomas, no social status, no rank, no economic station, but rather — an individual deserving of regard. When one respects, one acknowledges the worthiness and dignity in others with no judgment and no arrogance.
Tolerance and acceptance, I suggest, are derived from a feeling of superiority (misplaced as that feeling may be), while respect originates in humility and humbleness.
I believe that RESPECT is the substance from which all good values emanate.
Agree? Disagree? What does ‘respect’ mean to you? Comments and points of view are welcome.