Schools in England are now expected to teach British Values to help children become ‘upstanding citizens’. This certainly has its merits, but I believe more emphasis should be placed on encouraging children’s personal values from an early age and throughout their schooling.
Our values shape our belief system, mirror our morals and show how we act in every day life. Values may change across cultures, religions, countries, social classes, with age and many other ideals. If a child understands their personal values, it helps them grow into a self assured and authentic person, more in touch with who they really are. This in turn, may have a positive impact on society as a whole.
To me, every child should be shown and taught the values of self-respect, compassion, honesty, forgiveness and integrity, as beautifully shown in The Help film clip above. The housemaid Aibileen, would regularly sit with the child and they would repeatedly chant that the child was kind, smart and intelligent. Aibileen would compassionately help shape the little girl’s values and acted as a positive role model for her. This I found incredibly moving.
I admire Aibileen’s character because all too often adults forget their words and actions can affect a child’s values and ultimately shape young lives to a detrimental result. In my job as a teacher, I have seen children go off the rails because they have not been instilled with correct values, so I try my best to support them at school, but often the damage has already been done. A throw away comment like, “Oh, don’t be so stupid!” repeated to a child regularly whenever they make a mistake or “You’re just a child, be quiet, the grown ups are talking!”, if he/she wants to take part in a conversation, may damage their self-esteem. This in turn can create a negative set of beliefs affecting how they fit into society and their projections onto the world around them.
Realistically, today, there are still children in parts of the world, who do not have role models stepping in and encouraging positive sets of values, as shown with Aibileen. It is therefore our responsibility to show compassion, help where we can, send our prayers and set a positive example demonstrating good values. As James Dobson, Psychologist, puts it :”children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.”
One of my core values, is to help children understand just how unique, worthy and important they really are. I am proud to build upon personal values with the children at my school, and with any luck, positively help shape their future lives for the better.
Miss H ♥