COLUMN: Social change takes time and commitment

Social change doesn’t happen overnight.  We just didn’t wake up and find ourselves in a world where we are faced with destructive and uncaring behaviours.  Where drug and alcohol abuse, and its affects, are touching too many families and impacting on all of our services.   Social change can creep up on us as we, over time, continue to ‘accept’ the unacceptable until that becomes the norm.  However, the same is true for positive social change and the great news is, we all have the power to be part of that positive change.  And the Bunbury Choose Respect campaign is helping us do just that.

Choose Respect – a tool for change 

I’m sure most readers will have seen the Choose Respect logo around our City, but do we know what Choose Respect is?  Choose Respect is, as the name suggests, reminding every individual that we have a choice to live with respect. The definition of respect is to treat with care and consideration, and if everyone tried to do that as often as possible, our world would already be a better place.   It is that simple. Respect is the most fundamental value in our society, but it is not intuitive, it must be taught. We can’t expect someone to think about their actions if no one has ever taught them that their actions could be harmful to them, or to someone else. We can’t expect someone to care and give consideration if no-one has ever taught them how.  Have we been so focused on making sure we all know our rights that perhaps we haven’t given the same energy to understanding our responsibilities in our world as well?

Choose Respect offers us all a reminder that there is another way.  The simple Choose Respect message can be used in every part of our lives.  In our Homes, as a powerful and positive parenting tool. In our Schools, reinforcing the teaching of respect and providing valuable communication skills to deal with bullying.  In our Sport, helping to create a safe and respectful environment to play sport. In our Workplace, how would less vandalism, theft, aggression and bullying affect your daily role?  In our Environment, what sort of green legacy do we want to leave our kids? And broadly, in our Community, acknowledging that we each have a role to play. For every one person who makes that conscious choice to live with respect, to teach it, to be a role model, the ripple effect occurs.  We can reverse the trend. The long road to positive social change has begun, please join in!