What does dignity mean?

What does dignity mean?

Session Two campers

There is a lot of information that needs to get into our campers’ heads each Monday of camp. They learn the names of their fellow campers and of staff members, they become familiar with Koinonia’s campus and customs, they review the rules of camp, and they are introduced to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They even have to take a minute to learn how to correctly pronounce Koinonia’s name! But even in the midst of all that new information, we make sure there’s time to adequately focus on the right of the day, which comes from Article 1 of the UDHR: We all have the right to equality and the right to be treated with dignity.

Although they are related, equality and dignity are two separate concepts. In past years, we’ve spent more time leading the campers to think about the equality part of Article 1, using the story of Koinonia Farm as an example of how peacemakers uphold the right to equality. This year, however, the social climate of growing disrespect compelled us to also focus on the idea of dignity and the worth inherent in each person we might encounter.

To that end, we asked our campers to complete some statements about respect and dignity for us. Their answers reveal the depth of thinking that is going on under the surface of these bright and eager minds. How would you complete these statements? Here are some of the highlights from our campers’ answers:

I deserve respect because

  • I exist.
  • I have opinions that deserve to be heard just like someone else.
“I deserve respect because…”

I treat others with dignity when I

  • don’t judge until I talk to them.
  • respect who they are and their culture.
“I treat other people with dignity when I…”

I feel like people respect who I am when they

  • use a compassionate tone.
  • look me in the eye when talking.
“I feel like people respect who I am when they…”

I feel disrespected when

  • someone stereotypes me.
  • someone says something mean and then “just kidding.”
“I feel disrespected when…”

Treating others with dignity is the basis of peacemaking. We will be framing our conversations all week within a context of dignity. This first day’s discussion leaves little doubt that great discussions and thoughtful insights are in store for us this week!

Session 2 campers enjoying a hayride on a lovely evening on the farm



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