The matter of honouring others came across so strongly in a recent graduation ceremony of a kindergarten in Singapore.
The principal described how her kindergarten had hosted trainee kindergarten teachers. One of the trainees remarked in clear amazement: “You call the children by their name in this kindergarten!”
The principal responded by saying this is how the children are treated with honour: a life of self-confidence must start with a sense of identity, and the fundamental sense of identity for each of us lies in being known by our name.
It is unfortunately the case that not all kindergartens identify children by their name. A parent told me that in her child’s kindergarten, the principal often called the children “Ah boy” or “Ah girl”. Why should we wonder when the children act like they don’t know who the principal is talking to or what she is talking about?
We are deeply annoyed when people get our name wrong. Children, no matter how young, deserve the honour of being known as who they are…and people, no matter how “invisible” in our society (e.g. the lady who cleans the restroom, our train drivers, etc) deserve the honour of being known by their names as well.