Valuing the World Around You
This lesson focuses on the third part of respect: valuing the world around you. Students analyze a John Muir quote and discuss what they can do to show respect for the world.
The learner will:
- analyze a quote about our connections to nature.
- discuss an example of a lack of respect for the natural world.
- brainstorm ways to show respect for the world around us.
John Muir was an environmentalist who wrote about the importance of the natural world, especially the Yosemite area. His writings embody respect for nature. Read the following John Muir quote: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." (This is often misquoted as "When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.") Ask the students what this means to them.
Remind the students that we have defined respect as "valuing yourself, valuing others, and valuing the world around you, being courteous and tolerant of personal differences." Ask why it is important to value the world around us.
Give the following example: "Imagine that our class decided to clean up a neglected and trash-filled lot in the neighborhood. We worked hard to recruit people to help, clean up trash, weed, and plant flowers. After several weeks, we went back to the lot and found it trash-filled and neglected again. How do you feel? What happened? What do you think we could do?"
Discuss/brainstorm ways we can show respect for the natural world, the environment, and world cultures.
Optional: Discuss how the following John Muir quote exemplifies respect (for nature and others): "We all flow from one fountain—Soul. All are expressions of one love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided currents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, saturating all and fountainizing all."
This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to www.generationon.org.