In this world of so much confusion brought about by commercialism and greed, our integrity and maturity especially of the youth are always under scrutiny. Integrity is about self valuation or the value we place on ourselves.. Maturity on the other hand is about expressing own feelings and keeping in consideration others’ feelings. It is about respect for people, organization, and authority. Thus, it takes experience and self valuation to gain maturity. These two words when put together make a matured person of integrity.
The youth of today are well-informed about latest trends in fashion and entertainment brought about by media advertisements and promotions. But, they are less-informed about moral integrity. Parents of today are more givers of valuable things to compensate for lack of time due to work. On weekends, family bondings are spent at malls and commercial establishments. But, fewer families are found in church services. Fewer families spend time in parks, museums, art exhibits or concerts which are promoting creativity and appreciation of history and culture. Now, how do we compensate family deficiency on our students' value formation?
The schools may provide the best venue to educate and reinforce moral values and responsibility. About half of the students’ lives are spent in schools. In my college, De Ls Salle-College of St. Benilde-School of Hospitality and Institutional Management, the faculty members are required to include in their classroom discussion about values and social responsibility. The challenge is how one can integrate them in the courses like accounting, nutrition, butchery, Philippine and international cuisine and other course subjects. In accounting courses which I handle, it is quite a difficult job to discuss the Enron case or Madoff financial scandals. For one, the students cannot understand these examples because these are special interest topics. They love to hear actual and ordinary people experiences more than book theories and concepts. It takes experience and internalization of the topics about people and environment to deliver them effectively. To break the formal lectures and discussions, video clips of common interest like the financial crisis, global warming, and environmental issues are part of my classroom activities.
In my college, school discipline is observed and enforced. Students are trained to respect others and those in authority. A simple “I am sorry,” when reporting late in class, stopping for and observing the angelus prayer, and in and out of campus greetings to and from faculty members are few of the many examples having great impact on students’ values. Students (Christian or non-Christian) may be asked to lead and respect the class prayers.
Education for change may be done in many different ways in or out of school. In places like the supermarkets or the restaurants, given a chance, I talk with people whom I feel I may be able to share information that enlighten them about issues and opportunities. As educator, I have the power to make a difference.
By: Robert Lao