Every morning you open your newspaper hoping to find news about the end of controls, a boom in housing and employment, and the beginning of world peace. But what do you actually find? The world is going deeper into the mess than it was yesterday. Morality is on the down – grade, crime is on the up – grade, world peace is in grave danger, rampant corruption and material progress cannot keep pace with population increase.
We face a grim future with suicide on the increase, cancer on the prowl, taxes piling higher and controls spreading wider, with citizen losing their sense of responsibility while legislators and ministers losing their sense of humour.
Things couldn’t be worse!! And therefore they can gradually turn out be better someday. Let us all believe in the encouraging proverb, “This Too Shall Pass Away.”
Yes, dear friends, let us all start imagining, a world full of happiness, peace and prosperity. Let us dare to visualize that the world has finally became the best place to live. Of course, it is not a day – dream; nor it is building castles in the air. Sustained and meticulous efforts in the aim of making everybody’s life contented and happy will surely bear fruit.
The panacea to all our problems are the polishing GEMS.
Needless to say, that our efforts in this regard should primarily be based on ‘GEMS’ i.e. Good Values, Ethics, Morality and Spirituality. Values are the guideposts of life. Imbibing values will lead to the development of character. Values play a great role in shaping an individual’s distinct personality. Values, morals, ethics and spiritualism have a powerful impact on our behaviour, personality, and our relationship with others.
1. Good Values –
a) Values are those principles and guidelines according to which an individual or a society decides to live. They are the basic lessons in ethics, morality and behaviour that we learn from childhood.
Values are also referred to as the ‘Sanskaar’ ¼laLdkj½ that you inherit from your family. If you follow the correct values you may not get immediate good results, but in the long run they help you to win. Your values affect (a) yourselves (b) your family (c) your friends, relatives, neighbours, colleagues, etc. (d) your society, environment, country and the world. You are not born with a sense of values but you absorb them consciously and unconsciously from various sources. At home, when you watch your parents speak very respectfully and lovingly to your grandparents, you will automatically do the same. This is unconscious. When you are writing your first examination in school, your teacher tells you that it is wrong to look into your friend’s paper, and you obey her instructions. This is a conscious effort of imparting and absorption of a value.
b) Values can be classified in a number of ways. There are material values and spiritual values. Material values like hard work, neatness, discipline, etc. help us to earn our livelihood. Spiritual values like truth, generosity, courage or kindness give meaning to human life. We become better human beings because of these values.
c) In the initial years of life, values are picked up from parents as well as immediate relatives. As you grow older and start going to school, your teachers and school-mates will supplement these values. Later on, your work environment, your reading, and the experiences you come across, will strengthen your existing values or teach you new ones.
2. Ethics –
Its feature changes from country to country, culture to culture. Different societies have different cultural practices and values that are given different levels of importance. For example, in the American society, punctuality is more cherished as a value than hospitality, which is given more importance in India. However the basics are the same everywhere. For example – passing the exam by copying is unethical everywhere.
3. Moral –
One has to be faithful & trustworthy, one should behave in such a way that nobody is hurt mentally. His manners should be pleasing.
4. Spirituality –
One should have complete belief in the power above human efforts. He has to make utmost efforts to achieve his goal and leave the rest to God for results. Spiritual Development also means the development of our capacity to differentiate between the good and bad. A child can be said to have achieved spiritual development if he understands correctly his role in the family, society and the country.
We should try to inculcate different qualities in ourselves to perform our roles properly, which will satisfy ourselves as well as others. Good conduct and thoughts will ensure our development.
Spiritual development also means being aware of the fact that ‘I’ is not just a physical existence of myself, but a part of everything around us. It means knowing the positive qualities in ourself and rejecting the undersirable. It means developing a strong desire to use our positive qualities for the betterment of not only ourselves but also of others. The most important achievement in spiritual development is to be able to go beyond the ‘I’ and reach other layers like the family, society, nation, and the world. It means integrating with others, understanding those with whom we live, treating them with love and affection and carrying out our duties towards them.
Several factors are responsible for spiritual development. They are the values that we inherit from our family, our grooming, education, social conditions, environment, exchange of ideas, reading, observation, sense of sacrifice, etc. When we absorb all these factors, we emerge as mature, healthy and well-developed personalities.
Though all four are abstract things, they give a concrete foundation for a blissful and contented life. Nurturing good values, supplementing it by strong ethics, abiding morality rules and having a spiritual foundation of heart and soul will make things fall in place. Let us polish our lives with these GEMS and make our life worth living.
But there is no magic wand which works in this regard. Imbibing values, morals, adhering to ethics and to be spiritual is a lifelong process. It is the collective, collaborative responsibility of parents, teachers, educators and the society at large. In first place, it is the family who plays a key role in shaping the tender minds. It starts right from the conception i.e. the foetus who starts learning his lessons of life in the mothers womb. After the birth of the baby, it is the duty of the parents to take special and planned steps in inculcating good values and morals in their children. As the saying goes, “Don’t worry that your child is listening to you, worry that he is observing you”. Therefore parents have to practice what they preach. They have to set perfect example before their children about how one should lead one’s life. Parents should always have a hawk’s eye view of their child’s activities, spend quality time with them, keep a two way communication, build trust by bridging the differences of generation gap, thus fortifying the bonds of love in the family. It is the dire need of the hour that parents counseling for their children should not be instructional, but convincing and appealing. This reminds me of a very important tool which has lost its importance in today’s upbringing of a child. The tool is story telling. Parents may tell the children stories from religious scriptures and books. even in modern families, parents can tell inspiring anecdotes from books like Aesop’s fables, Panchatantra, etc. Stories told from religious books during prayer time or bedtime also help in inculcating value.
Unfortunately it is observed that parents themselves lack this very interesting art. The child does have a good impact on them by listening historical instances or stories. This goes a long way in building the morality of a child.
Likewise parents also have to strike a fair balance between reward & punishment. Gone are the days of ‘Spare the rod & spoil the child’. Today’s generation comes with a tag of ‘Handle with care’ and therefore, these polishing GEMS come at our rescue. It is only with this wonderful tool that you can correct your children and show them the right path so that you could count upon your children as real gems.
Later, the toddler moves out of his parents warmth and care and reaches to his extended family i.e. his school. This responsibility of nurturing values and giving lessons of morality, have to be taught in schools. Educationists have to shoulder a dual responsibility i.e. imparting formal education and fostering the lessons of morality and spirituality as well. Formal education and giving good values are two sides of the same coin. It is by and by process. By the way of imparting education, teachers can teach the students the lessons of life and vice – versa. Teaching of value education in schools can be through :
a) Formal Teaching : This is done by having regular period for value education. Our history and mythology is replete with stories that can be simplified for children. At a higher level, there can be seminars, workshops and discussions on various topical issues. For instance, topics like corruption, poverty etc. can be discussed and the students can come out with their own opinions. Lectures by prominent and well-respected personalities can be arranged.
b) Regular school activities : Schools may have ‘assembly’ during which students can give a talk on any topic that they want, recite poems and read snippets from newspapers. This can be good platform for introducing topics and issues from which the children will learn something.
Books and electronic media :
It is important that children are exposed to good literature and encouraged to develop an interest in reading, so that they themselves can understand the correct way of living. Literature can be :
a) Religious scriptures, autobiographies, films, documentaries etc. All the holy books teach the correct values. No religion teaches violence or hatred. Children can be given simplified versions of the holy books.
b) Other books : Books like Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s ‘Wings of Fire’, Nehru’s ‘Discovery of India’ etc. can provide inspiration to students. Even storybooks can instill in children a love for animal and the Cherry Tree, Alexander Fleming and the discovery of penicillin, etc. prove to children that values do win in the end.
c) Films, Documentaries, TV programmes and animations : Today, with the electronic media being so popular, we can instill values through this method. Recently, several well-made films for and about children have made both children and adults realize the importance of values like love, sensitivity, understanding and social harmony.
Self Experience :
Just as you get your values from external sources like the family and school, you also get them through you own experiences. Values obtained through self-experience are perhaps the ones that last the longest. You may forget what you have read or heard, but you rarely forget what you have experienced.
Further more, the society also its role to play in furnishing the people in the society, by the help of these polishing GEMS. Society comprises of people of different religious background and socio – economic status. It is the society’s responsibility to make the people accept this diversity and shape their behaviour accordingly. By instilling these polishing GEMS in the minds of individuals, we can develop qualities like understanding, accountability, acceptance and tolerance for each other and live in unison. It will reasonably make us conscious of our own behaviour, speech, rights, duties and responsibilities. At the same time, we will learn to respect the rights, duties, dignity and freedom of others.
These GEMS will finally make a person think positively, wisely, manage his anger, failures and people around him, help those who are in need, help eliminate the bad elements in society etc. But predominantly, these polishing gems will work wonders in two areas i.e. prudently choosing between right and wrong and secondly managing one’s own self in all kinds of situations. By the use of these GEMS, the society would get mentally strong, fit, healthy, mature and responsible individuals.
So let us pledge ourselves to strengthen our nation with the help of these polished GEMS. Let us vouch for making India once again synonymous to Good Values, Ethics, Morality and Spirituality.
The world of today stands with open arms to provide all the temporal material pleasures. But let India stand out to give to the world the gift of eternal bliss and peace. Let us make India shine across the globe by sharpening the minds and souls of our citizens with these polishing Gems i.e. Good Values, Ethics, Morality and Spirituality.
Mrs. Rupali Hingwe
The Blind Relief Association Nagpur's Mundle English Medium School,
South Ambazari Road, Nagpur