Respectful: The Third Value of the SEEK Safely Promise

We have already explored the first and second values of the Seek Safely Promise. The third value of the SEEK SAFELY PROMISE  states that teachers will be RESPECTFUL: 

Participants will be able to freely express opinions, without fear of public humiliation, ridicule, shame or physical abuse.

When I am in a learning environment, I keep an open mind to receive the ideas being presented. This is a sign of respect to the teacher/speaker. At the same time, it is equally important that the teacher listens to my reactions, thoughts and feelings about those ideas. I cannot learn if I am ridiculed or laughed at or shamed. I cannot explore or examine what is being taught if I feel coerced by the teacher or the group to accept what is being presented. Asking questions, seeking clarification or voicing disagreement are part of the learning process. I need to be free to accept, explore or reject what is before me.

I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man’s self-respect is a sin. Antoine de Saint-Exupery

For me this is the hallmark of RESPECT. A teacher has a sacred responsibility to encourage growth while respecting that each individual has his or her own set of basic beliefs through which they filter and understand new information. Good education is an invitation to expand thinking. It entices the learner to be curious and motivates her to explore new territories of thought. An effective teacher will listen and try to understand the perspective of a student while compassionately encouraging that person to think differently, to explore other options, and to examine other truths. An effective teacher will always respect a student’s right to accept or reject what is being presented. And ultimately, a teacher who respects his students will be given respect in return. Respect is what is owed to the learner and what is earned by the teacher. As a Seeker, guard your right to ask questions, to challenge your guru and to form your own opinions. Encourage your guru or teacher to sign the Seek Safely Promise!

Click here for more thoughts on respect.

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