Wed | Jun 3, 2020

Conflict Resolution Corner | No disrespect - Respect for others and self priceless

Published:Thursday | March 30, 2017 | 12:00 AMSandria Watkis-Madden

Welcome to another instalment of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) School Intervention Programme (SIP), Conflict Resolution Corner. This will run over six weeks as we provide tips on dealing with conflict, particularly among children.

“Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish man from beasts?”

What does it mean to have respect, and why is it important to conflict resolution?
Respect is to have high regard or a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something.
Showing respect shows that you value another as an individual and that you honour the personal rights and dignity of the person as a fellow human being.

Respect goes a long way in cultivating an atmosphere of harmony in homes, schools, workplaces, and social environments. When persons respect each other it makes communicating and cooperating easier and resolving of conflicts attainable.


I was in a rap session recently and I asked the participants if they respected me. Sure enough, all the participants (comprising about 30 students age 14-16) answered in the affirmative.

When I asked why, the following were some of the answers: “Because you are older, because you are intelligent, because you respect us, because you are nice, because you talk nice to us,” etc.

So I responded by asking, “What if I told you that none of you really respect me, what would you say?”

Everyone got on the defence and said that I shouldn’t say that. But the truth is, do we really respect persons or do we respect their statuses, their ages, their achievements, the way they dress, the way they speak, etc? There might be little or no respect for the person behind all those façades.

To the student who said that she respected me because I speak nice, I asked, “What if I didn’t speak nice, would you still respect me?” The answer was ‘no’. For the others, the answers were ‘no’, ‘maybe’, ‘depends’, etc.

Many students have enrolled in the School Intervention Programme with reasons for referral being “disrespectful to persons in authority”, and one of the main reasons that students give for being disrespectful is “because dem nuh respec’ mi”. For effective conflict resolution, it is necessary to respect people, regardless of who they are, where they are from, or what they have achieved, or even how they behave.

It is important to respect a person’s property and privacy regardless of age, status, and or relation.

By displaying positive attitudes, listening to others, remaining confidential, treating others fairly, and adhering to rules, we demonstrate our respect for others. In demonstrating our respect for others, we are also demonstrating our respect for self. By respecting self and others, we are reducing the possibility of conflict.

“Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12

- Sandria Watkis-Madden is a youth peace facilitator/ mediator based at the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), head of the DRF School Intervention Programme in Clarendon. Feedback: or, or,