We all follow the three R’s (Reuse/Reduce/Recycle) to create a better environment, but I also believe in following another set of three R’s to create a better society. These three R’s are my values- Respect, Rejoice, and Responsibility.
I have been brought up in an Indian household and society, and one of the most important values that I have been taught is respect. Ever since I was 4 years old, my parents have taught me to ask for blessings from elders as a sign of respect. Over time, I learnt that respect is not just about asking for someone’s blessing or saying “sir” or “ma’am”. Respect is about recognizing something or someone as important. Respect plays a huge role in all relationships- be it in the household or the workplace. It can be found in the smallest of things like respecting someone’s personal space by knocking on their door before entering. Listening to someone means respecting their opinion or story. Appreciating someone means respecting them and their work. Only if we respect people for who they truly are, can we bring an end to racial, social, and economic discrimination. Only if we could learn to respect, then we could look beyond prejudices and stereotypes.
When I was nine years old, we gave our first-ever test in school. It was a twenty-mark test and when we got the result, my friend had scored more marks than me. At that moment, I was filled with jealousy and disappointment. When I thought about it later, I felt ashamed of envying my friend. I asked my mother about this, “Why could I not rejoice in her achievement?” She made me realize that I must learn to feel happy for others’ joys as well. Happiness is not always found in materialistic things, it’s in the little things of life. Rejoicing for others and in others eliminates feelings of jealousy, anger and envy. Life is short and happiness is what makes it fulfilling.
At the age of 12, on the last night before I had to submit my school project, I was looking for my stapler. Not being able to find it anywhere, I thought my brother had taken it. Before thinking twice, I blamed him for losing it, which made him very sad. I went to my granddad who was preparing to sleep, to borrow his stapler, and even in the dark, he knew where it was. The next day, after I came home, I found my stapler beneath the books on my shelf and learnt that I was the one who had misplaced it. I felt terrible for yelling at my brother. Keeping my things in their right place and being careful about my words was my duty. My words, my actions, my things, and my work are mine, and I am supposed to be responsible for them. Responsibility is not just taking care of one’s belongings but also of their actions, words and behaviour. If we all learn to be more responsible, then we will be more thoughtful of our actions.
My values teach me not just to love but also to respect. My values teach me not just to be happy for myself but to rejoice for others. My values teach me not just to be careful but to take responsibility for my actions and words.