Value the Values, Children Will Learn Them on Their Own
Teachers must lead students by example
“Value focuses outside; values come from within. Value emphasizes what others get from our efforts; values emphasize who we are.” – Dave Ulrich, Management Educator
In the early days of civilisation, human beings cultivated values, such as hard work and discipline, from an instinct to protect their family. As time progressed and nuclear families came together to form societies, value systems evolved. A value system comprises written and unwritten rules, beliefs and attitudes, all of which help individuals conduct oneself and predict others’ behaviour in society and contribute to shaping lives. Violence has been inflicted upon humankind since the beginning of time. But the recent rise of violence among teens and youth propels us to redefine the importance of values and formulate innovative ways to nurture a generation with strong values.
The Importance of Values
A set of consistent values helps people deal with conflicts, decide between right and wrong and let their conscience choose correct ways to pursue their goals.
In a desperate attempt to meet their wants, children may go astray and adopt unfair means. But a strong value system can help create counter-mechanism and urge them to look for alternative solutions to fulfil their wants. For instance, a child may want to buy a fancy pen. If it does not fit in his pocket money, he may be tempted to steal the money from his parents. A strong value system can teach the child that tutoring younger kids may be an innovative way for him to meet his want, instead of resorting to stealing.
Values improve students’ decision-making ability and presence of mind. They enable students to develop a positive attitude and lead their lives with a sense of purpose and clarity. A strong value system also teaches one to show deep regard for the values of others. They learn to honour them in practice and principle, which are mostly based on ethics, tradition and culture and hardly differ in intent.
Values – Taught and Inculcated
Children of this generation are under the tremendous influence of social media, to the extent that parents and teachers often think that they have no influence on the former whatsoever. But that’s far from the truth. They have the immense responsibility of teaching and inculcating values in learners.
If children are encouraged to follow the dictum, ‘Values are valued’, at school and at home through examples, it can mould their character for a lifetime. They will show respect and act in accordance to the values instilled in them. Whether it is at home or at school, children’s personalities are largely shaped in the early years of their life. Their immediate surroundings have a bearing on their character formation. They emulate their elders’ behaviour and in the process, tend to inculcate those too. For instance, collective decisions taken in a classroom or at home promote values such as teamwork and respect, which children gradually imbibe, possibly without even being taught.
Children need to learn to differentiate between right and wrong based on positive reasoning in order to make decisions. This habit can be reinforced in their behaviour. While the values of trust, respect, collaboration are crucial to forging relationships, integrity and care for the environment are important societal values. These can be taught to children through the medium of stories and curricula.
It is not easy for teachers or parents to be at their best behaviour in front of children at all times. A supposed unharmful swear word uttered by a parent or a rude remark directed by a teacher towards an ill-mannered student, are common at home and at school. These can have an impact on children at various degrees. However, an apology followed by such behaviour can make a huge difference. It is important that children are nurtured in a caring manner, away from a hostile environment. A troubled home has not been uncommon for any person at any age. Children who come from broken homes are often adversely affected by their immediate surroundings. Hence, it is important that schools organise parenting programs at regular intervals to not only mitigate the problems mentioned but also counsel them. Initiatives of this sort can help children enjoy a home that fosters values in them.