Over the last twenty-five years the pioneers of Values-based Education (VbE) have been sharing with me the positive changes they witness in the thinking, behaviour and attitudes of children who are learning in values-based schools.
These personal qualities of character have always been needed by society, but never in my lifetime as much as now. I am therefore calling for a national and international endorsement and promotion of the qualities that we all should expect in our leaders and each other. I believe the development of such qualities in education and public life will give us hope for the sustained wellbeing of each other and our planet.
I therefore recommend that thinking and behaviour, which reflects Values-based Living, underpins society.
What follows is a rationale for Values-based Living, which I propose for your active endorsement.
Values-based Education: the foundation of Values-based Living
Values-based Education (VbE) enables children to have a deep experience and understanding of positive human values, which are expressed in words such as courage, respect, hope, love, friendship, honesty and trust. Regular opportunities are given for children to consolidate their learning through silent reflection and by thinking about, practising and modelling living the values. Children learn the importance of making choices in their lives based on values that will enhance their wellbeing and that of others.
As the children are exposed to positive values they gradually gain access to an ethical vocabulary, which nurtures ethical intelligence – their own personal moral compass.
As children deepen their awareness of individual values, they appreciate how values are interconnected. Each value helps children to develop values competences, which are expressed in the highest forms of personal and social behaviour. These competencies of character, which we can call super values, include being: altruistic, harmonious, peaceful, communicatively competent, accountable, relationally trustworthy, resilient, authentic, self-led, moral, educated, at ease with complexity, courteous, egoless, culturally sensitive, truthful, disciplined, ethically intelligent, wise and with a sense of justice.
Having a deep understanding of these competencies and making them their character traits, gives children access to an overarching capability called personal holistic competence (PHC), enabling them to navigate with thoughtfulness, discernment and clarity the complexities of life.
Through this process of expressing a new universal narrative, children will nourish their inner world of thoughts and feelings, resulting in a values-led form of human consciousness that is nurtured in families, schools and throughout society. This form of heightened awareness is called values-based living, which will profoundly enhance the wellbeing of humanity and the sustainability of the world.
I am in no doubt that together we can bring about this transformation.