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A 16 Guidelines view on


Everyone wants and needs respect. It is a pre-requisite for human beings to relate to each other in a positive and constructive way. Respect acknowledges that we have the same basic needs, whether physical, psychological or spiritual, and that other people’s experience and wisdom can be helpful to us.

Yet there is another dimension to respect, with even more power to transform. From our earliest years, we learn and grow through admiring and copying other people. In traditional societies this was a well-ordered process. Wisdom and life experience were seen as a form of wealth to be passed down the generations. ‘Elder’ didn’t just mean ‘old.’ Why is there now a tendency to be disrespectful towards people who are older and have more life experience than ourselves?

All around us there are people we can respect and learn from, if we choose to do so, and if we have the necessary humility. Respect is something that we have to give rather than to demand. How do we choose the people we respect? What effect will this have on our lives? How can respect contribute to a happy life?


To honor people with a deeper understanding and experience of life, especially our elders

A reflection on 


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The benefits of


  • enable us all to learn from each other’s knowledge, experience and wisdom

  • identify heroes and role models who can help us fulfill our potential

  • create a society which celebrates the diversity and richness of all its citizens

Did you know?

Research suggests that overall happiness in life is more related to respect than financial gain. So, in order to make people around us feel happy, showing them they have our respect is a better bet than material gifts.

‘Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up.’

Jesse Jackson

‘If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.?’

Thich Nhat Hanh

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