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A 696-word article written by Calvin T. Mann, a youth mentor and motivational speaker. Contact him via email at



Back in 2016, EMIY (Encourage Me I’m Young) Inc. decided to teach our mentees that real respect is the beginning of self-love.  We needed them to be the ones teaching it to their peer in schools by example. We later sent each mentee into their school with a proposal and commitment to not only share respect but be respectful.  What happened next proved to me how others really feel about boys.  Each school rejected our mentees proposal to be a peer leader by example and definition!

    Here is what’s true.  The true definition is “a feeling or deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”   It was clear from the start that many of our mentees did not know what respect really meant so we knew that their peers may also underestimate the meaning of respect.  It is here where we begin to share our story of change found in the gift of respect.  Respect is taught by parents and it’s a simple thing. Children will mimic what they see.  Throw in sowing the vision (of respect) in front of the children and things get serious for many of us parents to swallow; especially when we act in a disrespectful way toward others.

     The actual ignorance our children sometimes put on display is because we didn’t always teach them correct ways to be respectful.  We may have tossed in words like: “so what”, “go to hell”, “I hate you”, along with “…boy bye”, and “n-word”.  In fact, we practice so much disrespect today that its normalized and accepted by so many.  “Cursing (or cussing)” in the home is okay and yet going to school is not. The statistics show during covid according to 463 million children went missing during the virtual school day.  Some missed due to the lack of internet access and in the US.  But others, at 85%, were poverty-stricken children and simply did not attend.

Valuing The Gift of Respect