Respecting Adults

Some people are your peers. Others are not. You can have informal relationships with peers. You generally need to follow more formal rules with people who aren’t your peers.

Who are the people who have authority over you?
1. your parents
2. your teachers and principals
3. other adults who work in your school
4. other adults who are in some way responsible for your safety; e.g. baby-sitters, policemen, doctors and nurses, ministers

Who are the other people with whom you need to use more formal rules?
1. grandparents
2. step-parents
3. aunts and uncles
4. friends’ parents
5. adults working in stores, libraries and restaurants
6. most adults, in fact

How do you show respect to all these people?
Here are some behaviours that are sometimes appropriate:
1. Look at them when they are speaking to you.
2. Reply to show that you have heard what they’ve said.
3. Stand up when they come into the room.
4. Hold a door open for them.
5. Offer to carry something for them.
6. Ask them questions and invite them to talk about their memories.
7. Let them choose the tv program to watch.
8. Try to do something helpful.
9. Smile and greet them when you see them!!

Sometimes you need to defer to others to show your respect.
For instance, who should go through a doorway first?
Who should be addressed first during introductions?
Here is the order of priority:

1. Oldest woman or highest ranking woman
2. Other women in either age or rank order
3. Oldest man or highest ranking man
4. Other men in either age or rank order
5. Girls
6. Boys

Here is the language to use for introductions:
You: Mom, this is my friend, Katie. Katie, this is my mom.
Mom: Hi, Katie!
Katie: Hello, Mrs. Brown. I’m pleased to meet you.
You: Mr. Roberts, I’d like you to meet my dad. Dad, this is my school principal.
Mr. Roberts: I’m glad you could come in, Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Roberts.
You: Ms. Rosen, this is my mom, Ms. White. Mom, Ms. Rosen is our teacher/librarian.
Ms. Rosen: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. White!
Ms. White: It’s nice to be able to stop by, Ms. Rosen.

Body language:
Remember to smile and face the person to whom you’re speaking.
You’ll have to turn your head a lot!
Notice that people say the name of the person to whom they’re introduced.

Activity: in a small group, design a skit that includes an introduction and the proper behaviour for showing respect using the ‘order of priority’.

[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2009 Sophie Rosen.]

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