Taking stock of the conditions prevailing in the world these days, especially with regard to the dismal moral fabric. I am convinced more than ever to stress here that children with ethics can go a long way in changing the world order. The tremendous development that has taken place in the field of technology has made our lives much more easier and comfortable but on the spiritual and mental front much is required to be accomplished. Terrorism, segregation, ethnic cleansing and etc. have become a common happening everywhere in the world. It’s, therefore, in this light that ethical education assumes great significance.
Ethics should be taught and nurtured right from the childhood days and speaking of ethics, one must bear in mind that one should start with secular ethics. Here, I am strongly inclined to ask all the important question: How do the children with ethics perform their social obligations in their day to day lives and how can communities across the world can help the children to become ethical? Children with ethics are those who are genuinely interested in doing what is morally right. There is an innate desire in their hearts to do what is widely acceptable. They remain happy themselves and breathe in happiness all around. In discharge of their duties they need no prompting from their peers or elders. They act on their own. They have love and compassion for all irrespective of caste, creed, color or faith. They see beauty in diversity and have respect for all, rich or poor.
Now to address the question as to where one is expected to find such children, I can safely assert that the first place is the child’s home environment. If the child’s is blessed with caring and loving parents, the first step is ethical education is half done. Of the two parents it is the child’s mother who plays a pivotal role. The role of the father is also important. Such parents are role models unto themselves and rightly create a conductive atmosphere.
Next come the neighbor hood and the school environment, right from the formative stages to college level. The teachers, the peers and the school culture act as catalysis in churning out the children with all round development. Some schools may perhaps impart the best education academically, but if they are sectarian in one way or the other, the end result is always not desirable. This will not help in creating a world order in which everyone is not treated as equal. The dark forces such as racism, segregation on the basis of sex, color, creed, and faith will hold a sway over the child’s mind and this will eventually foment strife and destruction. The famous Orwellian line (Animal Farm) that “ all are equal but some are more equal than others ”, will take a firm root in psyche of the children. On the other hand if we teach our children compassion and largeness of heart for all sentient beings, the narrow divisions that divide our society will eventually cease to exist and this will surely help in creating a world order in which everyone feels secure, loved and respected by each other. It was essentially this thought that encouraged the Delhi schools to introduce “ Happiness curriculum” and rightly invited His Holiness The Dalai Lama for the inauguration.
by Tashi Norzom (Secular Ethics Project Co-ordinator)