All encompassing value education

Most schools have a subject to teach values. Some call it Moral Science (that was what it was called during the British Period in convents). These days, many schools have changed the name to Value Education.

So what exactly are ‘values’? Children should be introduced to them from childhood and it should not become a classroom teaching subject.  Many things depend on the family and how children are treated by adults.

There are many fields in this ‘Value based’ living. We should not call it just a subject to be studied. First and foremost are family values. These are not subjects to be taught. It should get born within a child from the time he/she is born. Love, compassion, empathy, tolerance and conduct get embedded in the children according to their family values.

It is only later that they learn values of compassion, sympathy, tolerance, loyalty and social values. As they grow up, they learn social values, cultural, religious, ethical and spiritual values. They learn of tolerance, non-violence and moral values as they grow up. Behavioural patterns are formed by observing others.

What about spiritual, ethical and environmental values? They get gradually embedded according to how adults behave with others.  They learn by observing and they need not be taught in a classroom. Punctuality and discipline are other important values that they learn both from their own family members and at school. How about integrity? This is something that has to come from within. Nobody can be taught this value.

Treatment of animals

Children need to see animals being treated in a kind manner if they have to develop love and affection towards all animals. Just because human beings have a brain that is a little more does not mean that they should consider animals as lesser beings.

Children love animals from the time they are born. It is only by seeing adults treating them badly that they get confused. Many adults scare children by telling them not to go near a dog or a cat, as they may bite them or scratch them. Frankly, this is one of the values that make even adults scared of even harmless animals.

It is rather sad that children grow up with fear of dogs and cats, not because it is their inherent nature but because adults make them so. It may be alright to caution the children to be wary of the behaviour of certain dogs that are a bit ferocious; but who made them so? Ferocity is an inculcated character that has been thrust into them by adults.

One of the important values that we need to teach children is to be kind and loving to animals. This is one of the most important ‘values’ that people have to learn from childhood. When we talk of values, we must understand that not just humans, but also animals are part of our world and they have to be treated like how we treat our own children.

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