​The virtue of respect is the basis of the St Paul's Way. Respect is a quality that is highly valued in our society and we can certainly recognise when people act and speak respectfully towards us. Everyone seems to know and acknowledge what constitutes respectful or disrespectful behaviour. Individually, we can’t change society but we can make a big difference in our little corner of it. It’s up to us to make sure that we’re doing our part to be respectful adults and to teach our children to be respectful as they learn and develop.

Children learn their standards of respect from what they see around them and parents and school staff are in a powerful position to teach by their own example as well as by instruction. Because our children take their cues from us, we need to be sure that we are setting the best possible standards. Schools teach children about respect but parents have the most influence on how respectful children become.

Respect is an attitude and being respectful helps children succeed in life. If children don’t have respect for parents, peers, authority or themselves, it’s almost impossible for them to succeed. The best way to teach respect is to show respect. When children experience respect, they know what it feels like and begin to understand how important it is.

If we reinforce our children’s positive and respectful behaviour and eliminate disrespect by immediately calling attention to it to discourage it, we are helping to develop the moral intelligence of our children. It is true that we can’t change society, but it’s also true that we can be a powerful influence in our little corner of it.