Balancing Education with the Instruction of Morals–Is There and Answer?

Teaching Principled Centered Leadership
Dr. Reuben Egolf Teaching Principled Centered Leadership in Nigeria

The importance of education  is indisputable in its value to constructing a generation. Information becomes the hinge that swings the door of opportunity to a land of progress. However, as with all things in life, this demands balance, because when educating people and yet forgetting the instruction of morals is inadvertently creating  a danger to national and international stability. Think about Nazi Germany as an example. It was the land of some of the most educated minds and technology such as Einstein and Mercedes-Benz and yet it produced a Hitler. Educators today must realize the importance of serving students information and increasing their knowledge, but also assisting them in developing their character, which is necessary in being a positive contributor to society.

Steve Johnson wrote

The ideal that schools should produce people who are both smart and good has a venerable tradition in the United States. Most children in 19th century America learned their ABC’s from McGuffey Readers, which were replete with stories of honesty, self-reliance, and courage. The Readers’ author, William H. McGuffey, was a professor of moral philosophy at the University of Virginia. But by the early 20th century, schools were beginning to lose their comfort with such moral indoctrination. As America became a more pluralistic society, it was harder to come up with a shared notion of good behavior. Given the lack of agreement, moral education, it was argued, was best left to the individual child’s family and religious institution. By the late 1970s, character development had all but disappeared as a goal of American public schools.

My contention is that there is a common meeting ground for all people to agree on in a pluralistic society. It will also promote moral behavior that reaches across all ethnic, racial, cultural, and religious lines. There is a shared ethic that can be the guiding principle for all. I’m using the above example concerning the United States, but it is applicable for all peoples or all nations of the earth. What is this common denominator that can erase the tension of offense and conflict of personal philosophy and religious slants? It is none other than the Golden Rule – treat others the way you want to be treated.

What if parents along with the educators of every nation adopted this philosophy of life? Surely all would agree with it and it would be the bridge and connection that would provide a seamless uninterrupted flow of unity becoming a powerful force in affecting the next generation. Think about it! What if children and youth are being taught to filter every interaction with another human being through the golden rule before they act? It becomes the basis of life and what they build their life upon and the moral compass that provides concrete direction for their lives. Can you imagine a child on the playground who emotionally becomes riled at another classmate, but before hitting the other, the voice of instruction sounds in their head “treat others the way you want to be treated.” If the child persists beyond the conscience of restraint that has been taught since birth and assisted by educators, and hits the other, the educator can immediately ask the perpetrator “is that how you want to be treated?” Us it as a teaching moment before the punishment is meted out. We can see how effective this can be.

Would this be hard to implement?

Not at all! Let’s unify and begin a media blitzing campaign through all available media outlets and take advantage of this small world created by technology. We can use the golden rule principle which is found in every major religion, culture, and the constitutions of nations. They all have it in one form or another. All that is needed is a network of people to get the job done – are you one of them?

“Treat others the way you want to be treated”

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