Everyone’s talking about them. VALUES!
It seems that the world is just waking up to the fact that when something is going wrong, there is a distinct lack of values.
When did they disappear? They didn’t. We simply stopped valuing values.
Not everyone of course. But a lot of people have simply forgotten to notice them.
I believe that it’s because our lives are moving so fast! We live in an age of unprecedented accelerated change of three crucial factors (technological advances, globalisation and climate change).
WE have to slow down. We have to breathe and be brave enough to leap off the roller-coaster which has whisked us off on the journey of life.
When we return to our values, we see what’s truly important in life. Love, kindness, honesty, tolerance, respect, empathy, courage, integrity, determination, confidence – and many others.
Adults need to re-focus on positive human values because our children are growing up in a world of anti-values. Materialism, greed, selfishness, anger, anxiety, jealousy, ignorance, prejudice etc. As a professional coach of young people I see pain and angst like never before. Social media has a lot to answer for, as does our school exam system. Many parents are at a loss as to how to help their children. But what I notice more often than not is a lack of values.
There are many reasons for this. We could blame political systems and leaders. We could blame the world of big business. We could blame the rapid rate of change of technology. We could blame our ‘have-it-all’ culture.
Blaming won’t help. We must take the positive path, wake up to what’s happening and return to what we know is right. Our children need us to be ethical, values-driven role models. They need to be taught explicitly about shared, positive human values and we must encourage them to live the values in their lives. Our children and young people need to be given the chances to form genuine, warm, real-life relationships. To be self-aware and emotionally intelligent. To have a sense of moral and social justice. And to be physically and mentally resilient so they cope with the challenges that will come at them. These young people are the leaders of the future. They are in our schools and we are teaching them. More than ever, the world needs values-driven, ethical, courageous leaders.
I have the immense privilege of having been the headteacher of a ‘values-based’ school. Together, we transformed our school – by focusing in a very specific way on values. There is an important difference between ‘values-education’ and ‘values-based education’. Real transformation comes when values are at the very heart of the school and the community. Where everyone takes responsibility as a role model seriously, and when values underpin every aspect of school life. It then filters into the homes and deeper into the community. This is happening all over our country and it’s a joy to see. It needs to happen all over the world.