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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4 thoughts on “Time Tested Values in a Fast Changing World”
It is sometimes disconcerting when I think about some of the vicissitudes in the world we live in. This is why primarily, the roles of parents is extremely important in the aspect of instilling good morals and values in their children. This commitment would produce responsible adults who will eventually impact the society and their future positively. To achieve this, parents should ensure that children at a very young age are inculcated with the right values from home. The ‘Time Tested Values” (TTV) are enduring values, it is what most parents were taught and these ideals are transferable.
I understand that we live in a world where most parents are career focused, but at the same time, parents should try to be proactive by creating techniques to juxtapose profession with the progressive upbringing of their children. The responsibility of teaching (TTV) in very young vulnerable children should not be the duties of nannies, babysitters housemaids etc. Churches, schools can also play their part in teaching children positive values but the duty should not be ‘dumped” with them. To imbue sustainable values is not a ‘one time’ or ‘one off” role, its an ongoing process that should be constantly reinforced so that children do not deviate from them.
I agree that modelling is a way to learn good ethics and values from parents but some children through no fault of theirs come from dysfunctional homes with no positive role models. These children might require ‘outside’ intervention, such as good mentors, initiatives, Governmental and non-Governmental agencies for children and churches to collaborate with their parents and families in equipping them with the (TTV) that are lasting.
Upon reflection, I remember that when I was growing up, the community also intervened to support parents in instilling some of the (TTV) in children and this was acceptable. It is now becoming difficult to correct children because of westernization, fear of being perceived as being judgmental and outdated.
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