Teaching Values

My disillusionment with religion began with Bhagavat Gita classes when I was in middle school. Removing my slippers and sitting down on the floor every Thursday and listening to someone say stuff I didnot understand, was not only physically uncomfortable, but involved profound boredom. I in fact respect the Bhagavat Gita far more now than when I didduring the time it was shoved down my throat and that’s what scares me. Its beauty would have been lost on me, if I went by the way it was taught to me. Theframework for ethics and values has become so much more complex now than it was when I was a kid and I realise now how wonderfully Bhagavat Gita addresses such issues. Every day, I am confronted with situations that open up question of what is the right thing to do. The variables that come my way and become part of the deliberations, are new every time and working a way out is never easy. Learning values for moral science classes was easy, but living them is entirely different.


Secondly, my role models were supermen and women. Take my father. It never seemed for a second in all that I have known him, that he was battling the angel and the devil before doing the right thing. For him, living honourably and doing right by others was the most natural way of living. On the other hand, my life choices are largely a product of deliberations where the fiddler with the wingsand the halo engaged in a heated debate with the bloke with the tail, the horns and the tridents and one of them emerged. The mere existence of this debate in my head was sufficient to make me feel like a terrible person especially when compared to the aforesaid men and women of steel. My broken relationships and the ones I have sustained are symptomatic of a life lived imperfectly and I have embraced that now.


The funny thing however is that television and internet, considered to be the large scale industrial complex producing the criminals of today and tomorrow, is also what shaped me into who I am. On screen and in the books and on the net, I found stories, information and people who were not men and women of steel, but people who grappled with the predicaments I did and finally emerged victorious in their own ways. And today, that’s the lesson I try to implement. Values are better taught by real people as opposed to Gods, because the content is more relatable to the audience. And this was the second predicament. After all the way I evolved my values involved everything that people called silly, corrupt and devoid of merits. But now I think that was all worth something.


All of the above is an attempt to explain the strengths and limitations of the way I defined my values. But how will I teach values now that I have people who look at me in that role. If I have to reduce the process down to a nutshell, teaching values is about four things, leading by example, free will, honest sharing and reasoning. I will always refuse to tell someone what is right or wrong. But I will try and live my life in the image of what I believe and advocate. I will encourage the kids I work with to make their own choices and think freely, supplying only questions that will stimulate them to think deeper. I will share candidly, my own imperfect life and its background. And finally I will try and reason out my suggestions and leave it open to them, without the fear of judgement or consequence, to make their own choice. To me, teaching this process to my students is more important than imparting the values themselves.

This post is part of my writing endeavor as a member of the loose blogger’s consortium. The other bloggers are as under. Give them a visit, they are bunch of hell raisers you wouldn’t want to miss 😉 RummusergaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman