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Please enjoy the Thought for the Term from Dr Khan, Director of Ethos

Posted on: 20/10/2023

Throughout Term 1, we have marked ‘Respect’ as our Thought for the Term. We have explored respect in assemblies, ethos sessions and student guidance time. We are keen for our young people to truly understand and appreciate the value of respect in all the different aspects of their lives. In this final Thought for the Term entry, I want to explore the idea of respecting ‘difference’.

We all grow up taking comfort in familiarity; we have evolved to seek out what is similar to us in terms of appearance, habits and personality. In principle, there is nothing wrong with gravitating towards what feels familiar and comforting. This, however, should never be an excuse for disrespecting or invalidating another person, race or culture. Saying that, sometimes we can feel a little unsure about how to approach difference and how to engage with other cultures and traditions. Our awkwardness around this can be mistaken as disrespect, and this is something we have the power to change. Here are some suggestions for showing respect and care when it comes diversity and difference:

1. Listen to other people’s stories and experiences with genuine interest and empathy

2. Be curious instead of being judgemental

3. Take an interest and ask questions about people’s culture and religion; be guided by their responses in terms of how receptive they are to your questions

4. Speak about different cultures with respect and politeness

John Hume, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998, is known to have said that “difference is the essence of humanity”. It is down to us to respect our differences and seek to understand them better.

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