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Moral values and importance of moral education

Moral values and importance of moral education

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 March 2020 5:59 AM GMT

Morality according to Bentham is art to maximize happiness; it can be seen by achieving the existence of happy and joyful life of all people. (Hazlitt, 2003: 109). Morals are the rules which people use to guide their behaviour and thinking when an individual is dealing with, or capable of distinguishing between right or wrong. Moral values are relative values that protect life and are respectful of the dual life values of self and others. The great moral values, such as truth, freedom, honesty, fairness, kindness, politeness, respect, virtues, perseverance, integrity, to know about one’s duties, charity, compassion, etc. have one thing in common when they are functioning correctly, they are life protecting or life enhancing for all. But they are still relative values. Our relative moral values must be constantly examined to make sure that they are always performing their life protecting mission. Hereafter comes ethics of a person. Ethics are moral values in action, a person who knows the difference between right and wrong and chooses right as moral. A person whose morality is reflected in his willingness to do the right thing-even if it hard or dangerous is ethical. Morality protects life and is respectful of others – all others. It is a lifestyle that is consistent with mankind’s universal values.

Degradation of moral values among young generation is at present a blazing issue. Behaviours and actions denoting immorality such as rape, sexual abuse, robbery, drug abuse, school violence, mob lynching, killing etc., are on the rising trend among adults, youth and children of our society. Due to various changes such as rapid modernization, industrialization, urbanization, globalization, excessively materialistic lifestyles, as well as influence of western culture accompanied many problems and evils in Indian society that cause declining ethical values in Indian education system. The more society become fragmented the less law and morality achieved. Factors influencing breakdown between law and morals are increasing specialization of labour, ethnic diversity within society, and the fading and decreasing influence of religious beliefs. If morals are not taught our children will make decisions based on immediate needs and desired, and based on emotions, not on sound judgment and they take the short cut and easy path even if it is wrong.

Whenever moral values are taught, that will guide them in their decision making and their problem solving. Moral education which was abandoned by our policy makers from our education system several decades back is very much important and it is the need of the hour to repeal it again keeping in view of the large-scale moral degradation, especially among present generation youths, as it teaches diversity, tolerance, mutual respect and pluralistic values. Moral values are values that express ideas about good life. As such concern for the moral values, such as honesty, responsibility, and respect for others is the domain of moral education. Parents are responsible for moral education of their children as it’s their moral duty, first of all. The role of teachers and the society come next. But as rule, they got used to leaving everything to school, to teachers, because it will give them possibilities to blame, which is not correct. Parents and no one else should be the first step in education and upbringing. Parents may encourage and inculcate their children to read famous books and sayings in respect of moral values and apply in their lives so that each and every child would become a citizen of higher moral ethics in future. The reading holy books of different religions, many great sayings of famous sages like Swami Vivekananda, Thiruvalluvar, Ramakrishna Paramhansha, Rishi Aurobindo and others may guide the children in decision making to choose the right and problem solving in their future lives. One of the oldest books in this aspect is Hitopadesha. This is an Indian text in Sanskrit language consisting of fables with both animal and human characters. It incorporates maxims, worldly wisdom and advice on political affairs in simple, elegant language and the work has been widely translated. Little is known about its origin. Sir Edwin Arnold, translated Hitopadesha into English in 1861. “The Story of My Experiments with Truth” the famous autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi is another book covering his life from early childhood through to 1921. In 1999, the book was designated as one of the “100 best spiritual books of the 20th century” by a committee of global spiritual and religious authorities. The famous Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama through the book “The Art of Happiness” gives his view on leading a happier life. A number of case histories and personal anecdotes have been presented to illustrate his views.

Bhaskar Deka,

Beltola, Guwahati

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