Living Values Education — Setting the Context

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Living Values Education is a global endeavor dedicated to educating hearts as well as minds. LVE provides an approach, and tools, to help people connect with their own values and live them. During professional development workshops, educators are engaged in a process to empower them to create a caring values-based atmosphere in which young people are loved, valued, respected, understood and safe. Educators are asked to facilitate values activities about peace, respect, love, cooperation, happiness, honesty, humility, responsibility, simplicity, tolerance, freedom and unity to engage students in exploring and choosing their own personal values while developing intrapersonal and interpersonal skills to “live” those values. Students soon become co-creators of a culture of peace and respect. A values-based learning community fosters positive relationships and quality education.

The Need for Values and Values Education

The values of peace, love, respect, honesty, cooperation and freedom create a social fabric of harmony and wellbeing. What would you like schools to be like? What would you like the world to be like? Reflect for a moment on the school or world you would like….

Children and youth grow toward their potential in quality learning environments with a culture of peace and respect. Relatively few young people have such a values-based learning atmosphere. A culture of judging, blaming and disrespect is often closer to the norm and is frequently mixed with varying levels of bullying, discrimination, social problems and violence.

The challenge of helping children and youth acquire values is no longer as simple as it was decades ago when being a good role model and relating moral stories was usually sufficient. Violent movies and video games glorify violence, and desensitize youth to the effect of such actions. Youth see people who display greed, arrogance and negative behavior rewarded with admiration and status. Young people are increasingly affected by bullying, social problems, violence and a lack of respect for each other and the world around them. Social media often negatively impacts teens who are already emotionally vulnerable. Cyber-bullying and sexing have been linked to the increase in the suicide rate of pre-teens and teens. Marginalized and troubled young people rarely achieve their potential without quality education. Feelings of inadequacy, hurt and anger often spiral downward and meanness, bullying, drug use, drop-out rates, crime and suicide increase.

As educators, facilitators and parents, there are many things we can do to reserve this downward trend and create wellbeing … for young people and our world. As Aristotle said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”