Friday, September 5, 2014

Teaching Values

Every culture has its traditions and values.  As such it falls to the older generations to teach those traditions and values to the children of the society to ensure the well-being of both child and society. Without the process there would be np continuity.

In the west our basic values and guidelines come from the ancient Jews -  the so-called Ten Commandments from the Torah (or as the Christians call it - the Old Testament). Its a question for historians and the faithful to decide from whence they came - when taken as a set of rules by which to live  IMHO its the content that matters. No magic or bearded entity in flowing robes required. 

Once the basics are in place the teaching gets a bit tricky.  The conservative traditionalists resist change at every step of the game. That in turn leads to a situation we now face here in this country -  our educational system is based on an agrarian culture  that no longer exists and so our children are falling further behind children in other parts of the world.  It is no surprise then that we as a country are no longer the shining example we once were and still should be.

Will McAvoy was right - "Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there are some things you should know, and one of them is: There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies" "We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons, we passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men.; it did We aspired to intelligence; we didn't belittle it - it didn't make us feel inferior.  There's more but the point is we cannot simply sit back on our heels - rest on our laurels - and survive and thrive.  It falls on us to ensure our children are properly educated to compete and succeed in this ever accelerating fast paced world in which we all live. They need to understand the moral foundation and then build upon  it and grow so that we as a culture and a society do the same.

That's my quick shack-take on today's LBC topic. And although I wholeheartedly agree with the fictional Will MvAvoy's take on things there is no other place I'd rather be then here in the good old USA.


  1. You know Chuck, I think America started down a slippery slope with the permissiveness of society in the sixties. Let your conscience be your guide was kicked to the curb and "anything goes" took its place. Still, I'm proud to be an American.

    Cosby, Stills and Nash relay the message well in this song.

    I wrote this for my granddaughter: (she's in the post image)
    Brittany's Prayer
    I pray each night to God above
    I pray each night for those I love,
    I pray each night that I will be
    Always and ever true to me.

    blessings ~ maxi

  2. That Jeff Daniels soliloquy is one of the most memorable ones that I have ever seen in HBO. My late wife and I caught it one evening when her sister in the USA was contemplating returning to India and was seeking our advise about properties in Pune. She eventually decided to stay on because of her children and passed away a very unhappy person. Every country can come up with such critical analysis and right now India with a substantial Muslim population of 140 million is going through very serious issues with the Islamic eruptions all over the Muslim world causing panic among the Muslims and weariness among the non Muslims. In these conditions, teaching values become very difficult to either children or adults when emotions are running very high on all sides.

    1. It is because it is so difficult that it is so critical.

  3. Yeah Maxi - our generation started it. The problem stems from an ultra-liberal perspective that says it's their way or the highway and is wholly intolerant of any rule that stems from a faith based perspective. Like the uber religious that reject ANYTHING humanist the uber liberals are as guilty. Logic has left the building. Nice prayer.

  4. This is and always has been a very interesting topic of debate for me personally.

    The term ‘teaching values’… what does that actually mean? Your point is well taken Chuck with regard to the Ten Commandments as I have often used that myself as a major reference. And although we learn that these commandments are given within the context of a religious manuscript, they are in fact the fabric that makes up human morality. But it seems to me that the starting place in addressing values has to be with the human condition. And by that I mean are we inherently evil and without morality by nature, just simply in fact a higher level animal who has socialized ourselves into groups, or are we something more complex?

    The question is was I born to this level of intelligence incapable of determining right from wrong? Why do I have to be told what is right and what is wrong. It seems to me that love and compassion are things that we are endowed with as humans. It is the development of these two things in particular that brings all other aspects of our human behavior into perspective and into control.

    If I understand that driving a vehicle through a school zone at a high rate of speed is really stupid and a dangerous thing because it puts children who are otherwise preoccupied at risk, why do I need a law and a speed limit sign to otherwise guide my actions. I have never understood that! It’s not, in my humble opinion, a matter of teaching values but rather the human condition and the lack of love and compassion for others around us. Recently in our local newspaper in a column directed at local driving issues and laws someone asked if speed limits posted for school zones had to be followed when school was not in session? What kind of dumb ass question is that? Whether it is a school day or a weekend, it is a school and there is always a possibility that children could be present at any given time for any given reason!

    This is, in my opinion, a very simple issue with perhaps a very complex solution but a topic I find very interesting. These are just a few of my thoughts… :)

    1. I agree Alan - a very simple issue with perhaps a very complex solution. I am not what you'd call a "believer" - no magic or bearded gent in the sky calling the shots. As to your question - personally I think we as humans are born with the ability to reason and think . Some choose "the dark side" and some choose the opposite. There are many reasons that affect that choice and they'refodder for another blog. It seems - as we are in music - we are on a similar page here.

  5. I love this piece because it voices a clarion call that we MUST answer. For better or worse, we have a national responsibility that is unique to us as a culture. We have no choice but to step up or fail.

    Like you, I love living here and would not trade that. But, the truths of what we have become must be faced.

  6. Great stuff, Shackman, loved it. Especially the stats.