There’s a word that is little used these days. It’s an attitude rarely seen.

Dignity describes how we treat other people. We can treat other people as the children of God that they are. We can treat people with disrespect and disdain. Cynically. Our choice.

Dignity describes how we treat ourselves. We can stand up like a person of worth. We can let others treat us with disrespect. Or, hopefully, we can leave those behind and choose relationships with those who treat us as they should.

If you are looking for examples, think of Jesus. Other than the time he drove the merchants from the Temple, did he ever not treat people with dignity? Even those who decided not to follow him? Perhaps he was saddened. Even at the end of his life, he chose not to say anything (much) rather than lash out at his accusers and demean them and revile them.

As I get toward the end of Jonathan Sacks’ Morality, he argues that morality and dignity go together. I envision them as walking hand-in-hand like early-teen romantic couples.

Training at the old Ritz-Carlton (now part of Marriott) for everyone no matter what “rank” included this mantra: We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. How do we want to be in this new year? Try being a person of dignity treating others with dignity.

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