The hidden truth about teaching values

Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur

shades A man came to a mystic and asked for a formula for life. The mystic replied, “You take this and you do that and you get something.” The man was confused, “But that’s true for everything.” The mystic smiled, “You only asked for a formula.” The man sighed, “But how do I apply it in life?” The mystic embraced him, “The ‘applying’, dear, is life.”

Myth 1 – We can teach values.
Lectures by parents and moral science books have been the two mains sources of teaching values. Despite this, every successive generation feels that the next generation is LOW on values.

I see articles popping up everywhere that as a society we have become unkind. Some say we are not teaching enough kindness. I would say, children may know about kindness – it’s time we started, on a daily basis, making them aware of how we, they, and others are kind-unkind and through this they will develop their understanding.
Bottom line: We cannot teach values, we can only make children aware of them through our actions.

Myth 2 – We cannot teach values.
While we cannot teach values, children are always learning them – seeing how we operate in our lives. A mother slaps her child because she is irritated, then goes ahead and teaches the child to take care of others and never hit them. Does this mean that we need to be 100 percent kind for children to learn kindness? No, we are not proposing that we become perfect models, but each of our acts of unkind behaviour is as much an opportunity to learn the value. So we start with ourselves being the source of learning.
Bottom line: Children can learn more from our actions than from our lectures.

The authors run an open unschool called Aarohi and invite all readers to visit and see how open learning can be an amazing way to work with children. They also conduct training retreats and online training for teachers and parents. Visit www.aarohilife.org.

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