By Thamar Jones
Growing up in a Christian home, I was raised with strong Christian values. Living in a Christian society, most of us were brought up with some degree of exposure to Christian ideals. Even if you did not attend church, a religious school or grow up in a bible believing family, I assume that we’ve all heard of the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Stories like, “The Tortoise and The Hare”, and “The Ugly Duckling”, which we all grew up with, have important underlying lessons that helped to shape our values at a very young age. We might have forgotten these stories but their teachings in some way or the other have contributed to what we call our moral and values systems.
But what if we did not all grow up with positive role models, anecdotes and good parents to help reinforce these good morals? I cannot help but wonder if our crime ridden society has festered so badly as a result of a lack of moral teachings in the home, in schools and society at large.
Moral values are the principles that guide us throughout our lives from childhood to adulthood. Thou shall not steal. I learnt that one in church. My mom reinforced it be making me return play dough and pencils that found their way in my backpack from pre-school. My home, my church and my community taught me to respect life and so I have never harmed a fellow being. Later on in life I learnt the values of hard work, integrity, honesty, kindness and compassion.
I do realize that not everyone has had the same set of experiences and I wonder if it is possible that a different morale has been fostered within subcultures of my society. Perhaps instead of being taught to value hard work for example, “quick come ups” are praised instead. Instead of honoring men of good character, perhaps men who cheat and steal and murder are hailed in some communities. Should there be any wonder then, why the moral fabric of society is decaying exponentially before our eyes?
I think that the key to reforming our society is to teach the kind of values that will propel people to do what is right for their own good. Having integrity will allow you to advance in both your personal and professional life. There are more opportunities for you to fully experience life when you are a person of integrity.
Incorporating the moral value of compassion into your life for example, motivates you to extend kindness to others. Compassion allows you to extend tolerance and mercy towards other people. When you have compassion, people are more likely to trust you because you are less judgmental of their circumstances.
Courage, another great quality, gives you the determination to boldly face your fears in life. It enables you to overcome obstacles because you won’t let fear hold you back. Others will feel confident relying on you for encouragement because you find solutions to whatever problems arise in your life. When courage is one of your moral values, you can bravely face the world.
Valuing hard work and diligence will allow us to build the very work ethic and principles that will lift us out of poverty and mediocrity.
Honesty, respect for others, honor… are they a part of you? As a society we can reinforce good values by practicing them, acknowledging and praising those who demonstrate them and by denouncing negative behavior and corruption.
By Thamar Jones