Fort Belvoir Elementary School students discussed respect with members of Headquarters Battalion and the Fort Belvoir Chaplains office on Tuesday as part of the Battalion's Character Counts program.
Respect is the second of six pillars the program will introduce to the students over the next several months.
Battalion and Chaplain's Office members asked the students their definition of respect, why it's important to respect others and told them how being respectful will help them as they progress through life.
"I think it's our civic duty to help develop the children and make sure the foundations are set," said Capt. Daniel Tucker, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Activities, commander, who met with 3rd graders. "Sometimes, children don't totally understand the message, so getting it from an outside source makes it easier to understand."
Chaplain (Capt.) Rabbi Heather Borshoff met with Natalie Benton's first grade class and wanted the children to understand how respect will affect their lives now and in the future.
"Respect can mean different things at different ages and, at this age, their responsibilities are much less, but they have their own responsibilities," said Borshoff. "I want them to think about if they respect others what it means for them, and what it means when others respect them."
Borshoff told Benton's class that respect is vital to the success of their lives because the only way you can get respect is to give respect.
"If you show respect to other people they will respect you back and be able to accomplish whatever it is you are working towards," said Borshoff. "If you don't have a good relationship with people, you won't be able to succeed in whatever it is you are looking to do."
Tucker said he wanted his class to understand doing little things for others will allow you to earn respect.
"'Thinking of others before yourself,' is the message I was trying to get across because once you do that, respect falls into place," said Tucker. "People don't interact as much as they used to, so they don't do little things like holding doors open for people and opening the door to let the girl in the car first."
Respecting an individual's position, like a teacher or parent, or people with different opinions than your own, is also important for the children to remember moving forward, according to Tucker.
"You don't have to agree with someone, but they are older than you and you don't know as much as they do," said Tucker. "So, learn from whatever they are saying."
Parents can help their children understand respect by raising them in a respectful environment, according to Tucker.
"Respect your child because if you do, they will respect you," said Tucker. "Not letting kids talk back to them and making sure they follow rules. Rules are in place for a reason because they are designed to protect people."
Trustworthiness is the first pillar the Character Counts program discussed with the children in November. Tucker said respect and trustworthiness tie-in together because you don't get one without the other.
"No one is going to trust you if they don't respect you," said Tucker.

Page last updated Fri December 7th, 2012 at 15:35