These are interesting and exciting times we live in. It seems like there is always something new everyday! If it’s not a new fashion trend, it’s a new artiste or new music, new reality show, new terror group, new concept of family…and the list goes on and on. Sometimes I really wonder what fashion for instance would look like in another 3 years? Just when you think you’ve seen it all something new and almost previously inconceivable is thrust on us. Anyway that’s gist for another day.
One change that I’ve had cause to think about a lot lately, is how the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior is becoming increasingly blurry. Back in the day, black was black and white was white! But now we are told – particularly through the various media that things can be different shades of grey and that looking at things as either black or white is not only old fashion but intolerant of other peoples preferences.
I shared my thoughts with a few people and the consensus is that we need to take a close look at our value system. While many people agree that the values we subscribe to determine to a very large extent how we see things and the choices we make, what I find disturbing is the different meanings and definitions some of these generally accepted values have taken over time. Sometime ago I hosted a seminar for young people (about 60 children from middle / upper class homes some with strong religious upbringing) and we looked at a few probable dilemmas and how they would react under such circumstances. I was heartbroken to put it mildly when 80% of the group said that anyone who refused to share the answer to a test question with another classmate (during the test) was selfish and should be branded and treated as such. Some even went as far as reminding me that “Aunty, the bible says we should share”. Who would have thought that refusing to cheat would be interpreted as selfishness? The painful part is that even for those who know and agree that it is wrong to cheat, the fear of being excommunicated may pressure them into doing things they know they shouldn’t.
I agree with the school of thought that believes that our core values act as moral compasses within us and guide us in making choices. I also believe that instilling values in children from a young age and consistently reinforcing these values pays huge dividends.
One of the most effective methods of passing on values to our children is by modeling. Children learn best by observation and right from childhood a toddler will imitate his/her parents. Of course there is also a place for talking.
Raising a family in a society that is fast-paced and ever changing can leave you bewildered as to which values to teach your children. Even with the clearest crystal ball, it is impossible to predetermine what the next “in thing” would be – so how do we decide what values to focus on instilling? The easiest way is to start with simple everyday values that are universally acceptable across cultures.
To help us along this journey of value enhancement with a view to equipping our children to make better choices, I would like us to consider some of these common everyday values, which I have tagged “Time Tested Values” (TTV).
I honestly believe that if each one of us makes it our duty to instill in our children proper values we would have played a significant role in impacting society positively and creating a better future for our children. In subsequent posts we would discuss each of these TTV’s.
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