No matter what stage we have reached in our lives, no matter what age we are, it is never too late to have dreams and realise them. When children and young people are given the opportunity to systematically explore values, as an integral part of their education, they get fired up because the process makes so many aspects of learning meaningful and relevant, expanding individuals’ horizons while also developing and strengthening their inner qualities. The effects can be surprising!
Our mindset is key to unlocking our potential. The study of values is an engaging, holistic process that not only builds and strengthens participants’ mental capabilities but their physical and spiritual attributes as well. It appeals because the exploratory process and the activities to reinforce learning are expansive and experiential. Children and young people enjoy feeling empowered as they gradually develop essential emotional and social skills that enable them to better manage and control situations. This is particularly rewarding when, rather than being swamped by negative influences, such as fear and perceived limitations, they can draw upon diligently mastered tools that help them realise their hopes and aspirations.
Young people growing up in today’s world are witnessing how individuals’ choices and actions can rapidly be broadcast via social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
It’s all the more important therefore that learning to make informed, principled, well considered decisions is an integral part of their education so that each of them can leave school with their reputation intact, confident of doing well, with a life-long learning mentality that enables them to maximise their abilities and with the desire to be responsible citizens, capable of making the world a better place.
Some people wonder whether in today’s world teachers are proxy parents and, to a degree, social workers. The truth is that children and young people are constantly learning, making understandable mistakes and in need of encouragement in all kinds of settings.
To enable them to flourish and lead happy, healthy and successful lives they require a whole-person, holistic education that opens up their hearts and minds. Supportive home/school partnerships are vital for learners’ wellbeing and the integration of their mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and social development.
We are living in an increasingly enlightened time when the understanding of the roles of teachers, parents and the power of 'values literacy', as an integral part of a school’s curriculum, are coalescing. The prospects are exciting.
Children and young people need to be empowered with values literacy. The inspirational process engenders a rewarding sense of purpose and motivates participants so that they take more responsibility for their learning and behaviour.
Pupils, teachers and parents notice how standards, behaviour and performance all improve and together they enjoy the enhanced outcomes.
When we understand how something works, we can manage it better and are more likely to use it to good effect. The same is true of values, which impact every aspect of our lives but so often we are not consciously aware of their significance.
Take, for example, identifying what makes you “click” with someone. Start by considering what it is that you have in common and what it is that enables you to enjoy each other’s company and want to work together. How does the “clicking” manifest in terms of:
The London 2012 Games were a morale booster as influences from the powerful, universal Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect spread and brought out so much goodness in so many people – from all walks of life and from all age groups.
The performances of all those involved in the London 2012 festival of sport – Olympians themselves, the organisers, all those who designed the superb and imaginative venues, those who took part in the impressive and enjoyable ceremonies, the Games Makers and even spectators - set many hearts and minds alight by their examples. They demonstrated just what can be achieved when talents and abilities – not only sporting - are nurtured and allowed to blossom to their full extent. They made abundantly clear what can happen when we have a purpose, live by and share what we treasure and value.