Values are defined as acceptable standards or behaviours, through the adherence of which one can stand out from the crowd. Each person holds something important to them – something will always have more significance than another aspect of one’s life. Some value people, others value material goods or objects and yet others hold thoughts and ideas in high esteem. It all really depends on what ‘seems’ important and each person has a different view. However, irrespective of what is considered a value, the fact about values is that they create harmony, unity and an all-encompassing oneness by the people that hold on to a set of values. Values transcend boundaries and bring like-minded people together allowing them to fulfil their personal and societal goals with a lot more ease, than if they tried to achieve something individually. It is true that values shape each individual and when a number of such individuals come together they are able to produce a ubiquitous effect of the value they consider important and critical to their individuality.
For society too, and in work life, it is becoming crucial to have shared values and certain guiding principles that will veer the behaviour of people towards a common goal and good. The inculcation of values must start at the most basic level – that is from the formative years of individuals – at schools. Children are extremely impressionable and will grow up to believe and practice whatever they are taught in their early years. Families, schools and the society must function as one cohesive unit to ensure that the children learn and adhere to values and the education system has a major role to play to maintain the consistency of thought, words and actions.
Shape the Children’s Young Minds:
The values that children are taught will shape their outlook, approach and overall behaviour towards themselves, their families and others. The more positive values children learn, the more disciplined and balanced they will be. They will make better and more informed choices and will grow up to be responsible citizens ready to face the challenges of life. As children start attending school, they spend a substantial number of hours away from home and begin to experience different scenarios, mind-sets and of course, values. Schools and the education system therefore, can and should have a powerful influence on the kind of values the children imbibe. The education system and the educators must remain aware of how their demeanour and display of values will affect the children and constantly endeavour to exhibit positive behaviour and values. Reinforcement of positive values is not only good education but lets the children know that things like integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and being conscientious should be non-negotiable. They grow up to be confident and self-reliant with enhanced ability to know right from wrong, stand up in the face of opposition and help those weaker than themselves. These strong behaviours make for happy individuals who are capable to affecting positive changes and who will never be influenced by trends, consumerism and the pressures applied by their peers. They will hold their ground, make their own decisions and would become positive and influential leaders.
The Education System can help:
We know that values cannot be separated from an individual and are an essential part of the personality. Education too is crucial and must have for every child and for the education system to claim that it is genuinely developing the children for the future it must strongly incorporate the dissemination of values. With technology, new-fangled ideas and changes in thinking becoming the norm, no doubt some of it is for the better, the role of values takes on an even more serious connotation. Just like teaching and learning are considered a continuous process, values too can never be treated as learnt with no improvements required. In fact, the current education system must adhere to values as a scientific process that requires constant learning, observation and analysis. The values must be so deeply entrenched that no amount of negative pressure and influence should be able to shake them. The adherence of values in and through the current education system is taking on even more significance. Given that technology and digitization has shrunk the world, people are becoming more independent and inter-dependent and unless there are a set of shared values it will become increasingly harder to live in peace and unity. The education system touches every aspect of a child’s life and therefore a curriculum that revolves around creating awareness not just about knowledge of the subjects but also how to develop one’s morality and personality is of more value.
The adherence of values starts with a child’s family but continues when the child steps out and enters school. The education system must be able to support the positive value system that the children have learnt hitherto. The role of the educators and the system as a whole is to show the children that values are not just meant to be spoken about but must be part of their very being for their development as smart and focused individuals.
The School Environment is Vital:
Children emulate what they see and when they begin schooling they spend a significant amount of time watching their teachers and elders. To better the current education system it would great for children to learn values and respect. By building an environment where positive values are the culture and norm the children will have clarity of thought and will not need to grapple with issues that they may have been unsure about. For example – schools now teach that bursting crackers on Diwali is wrong. There is no ambiguity – it is wrong for many reasons and children are even seen carrying out rallies trying to educate the elders in society about the harmfulness of bursting crackers. The adherence to such values helps children develop their minds and brain and be able to think independently of ‘popular beliefs’. The children of today are much smarter and seem to have a better grip on a number of issues – thanks to the easy access of information. However, there is a downside to this flow of information too – a lot of subjects that they should know and deal with later in life are also made available. It is here that the current education system must stand its ground and adhere to values to keep children from straying.
A sound education system, entrenched in positive values will be able to present the information in a more useable and friendly manner providing the pros and cons of each set of data. The current education system has now, much to the relief of parents, started sex education, which previously was a taboo subject. However, with the balanced views and proper education on what would constitute morality and what breaches the lines, children are growing up already understanding the dangers of trusting strangers and letting themselves loose. The education system starts with the infants – these little ones are taught basic values of honesty, not stealing, keeping their surroundings clean and maintaining personal hygiene. As they grow these values are continually built on by teaching the serious effects of non-adherence to them. When schools and the education system becomes a key partner with parents and society in building positive values, it will be hard for children to pick up wrong behaviours and behave contrary to the good being instilled. It is a lot easier to shape young minds than trying to change a negative that may have become part of the child’s personality. Educators have learned how to recognize negative behaviour and would be able to identify them if the child has imbibed them due to such conduct by an elder at home, which they may not even be aware of.
The teaching of values is an on-going, relentless and never-ending pursuit and hence teachers, families and the school curriculum must all work together as a cohesive unit to spread positive values in the children. The teaching of values must be as systematic and structured as the learning of any other subject or discipline, if the children are to see their significance and consider them vital for life. It is heartening to see children taking on the responsibility to change a number of things that are not right with society today. It may sound simple, but the issue of cleanliness for example on a countrywide level is no ‘child’s play’. The amount of debris and trash on the roads is acquiring scary proportions and children are getting actively involved in using their education to do away with this menace and nuisance. It is heartening to see that schools have been able to instil the value of ‘clean surroundings’ in the children but this is just the beginning. While there may be a lot to be desired from the current education system, it is good to notice this change and it would be beneficial to all if the adherence to values continues to remain a focal point.