The word for today is “dignity.” Defined by Websters as “the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed.” Persons are described as carrying themselves in a “dignified manner” and/or “showing some class.”
Yet, dignity has nothing to do with class, stature, bank account, or number of letters before or after one’s name. Dignity is who you are and how you are… simply and wonderfully… because you are.
Our experiences, how we were brought up, who and what influenced us each determines how easily we are able to look in the mirror and claim, “I matter. I am a person of worth.” Blessed be the persons who enter our lives and help us to claim that, believe that, live that.
Dignity begins by how we talk to and about others. Person first language, my friends…or better yet, the given name of a fellow human being. Dignity continues by growing into and living the realization that there is no “us” and “them” there is only, ultimately we. To one another we have a “respond-ability” to first, determine if we will respond, and, secondly, with our talents and gifts, to determine how we will respond.
In my faith tradition, there’s an old campfire song with the lyrics, “to guard each one’s dignity;” sounds like a good place to begin.