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


6 thoughts on “Teaching Values

  1. Teaching Indian scriptures like the BG before children can understand the subject puts off many children from such lessons and they even become atheists or worse ELIMs.

    Your leading by example, teaching free will, honest sharing and reasoning is fine but I would caution you about getting too deeply involved in the metaphysical aspects of free will. Children can get put off!

    I would entrust my grandchildren to your teachings!

  2. For him, living honourably and doing right by others was the most natural way of living.
    Did you ever pose the question to him? Was he born enlightened? Did he come to these realizations on his own?

    I agree values are better taught by real people – I also agree with what I think is the primary thrust of your post – teaching the process to my students is more important than imparting the values themselves – a nice spin on the western/christian notion of teaching a man to fish as opposed to just giving him a fish.

  3. It’s crazy that you nearly missed the BG because of incompetent teaching. I wasn’t thought it at all, but I appreciate it a lot. I love the Bible, but that makes me appreciate the wisdom of other scriptures in a very deep way.

  4. Ashok our education system is more of forcing and not helping kids understand why should they know this or that thing taught in the class. A couple of days back I saw Facebook post – “I dont know when, how and why to teach Calculus? I never used it in my life after class!”

    This happened with your experience with Geeta. Perhaps you were too young to understand why to study it! I only came to know about Geeta when I was watching Mahabharat in 90s, thank god that BR Chopra made that serial.

    On values” – What is right for you, may not be right for me. I am a Vegetarian and Ramana uncleji is not, so I had some discussions on that as well. Besides the community (the Good for Nothing Lingayats who do not follow what Basava’s founding principles!) I am born in. I know Uncleji will at least smile on the previous sentence. OK! Now I am over that lingayat nonsense!

    It is true values are equally subjective – Take Economics, Politics, Social issues etc. Just to give you an example – Mr Satyarthi who won Noble peace prize this year have been doing a wonderful job. In some renowned news paper / website I read someone say (someone big enough to be noticed) – 90% Indian kids are working for their family business etc. First the data can be contested, second does that justify child labor and thirdly if kids are forced to site (say in classroom to learn Geeta) can that be qualified as Child Labor?

    1. Missed adding I have written a couple of blogs on that –

      Why do we educate our kids? http://business2buddha.com/2014/05/10/why-do-we-educate-our-kids/
      My nieces are competing and these kids of 10 years and 5 years. They dont know why? but “WE” know – the world (India) is very competitive and blah blah… poor souls not even sure what they are doing and why? My sister’s were toppers and they both say – “I dont want them to be toppers, it does not make any difference in life.” After all their academic life they came to know this – hope that light bulb shines in many minds!

      Other is Showjumping http://business2buddha.com/2014/04/20/showjumping/
      Again based on what I saw in families. At best we are creating horses for show jumping and not adults

      Race – A story shared by Ramana uncle Ji. http://business2buddha.com/2013/08/03/race-never-ending/

      Aaaailyaa I have written a lot about education… the last one… A book review (Novel by one of my friends) MBA is not about Money blazers and Arrogance http://business2buddha.com/2013/02/19/mba-is-not-about-money-blazer-arrogance/

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